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C. K. OGDEN 



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".ftHS ON BAH1.V 



LETTERS 



IMPORTANCE, DUTY, AND ADVANTAGES 



EARLY RISING. 

ADDRESSED TO 

HEADS OF FAMILIES, THE MAN OF BUSINESS, THE LOVER 
OF NATURE, THE STUDENT, AND THE CHRISTIAN. 



And is there aught in sleep can charm the wise? 
To lie in dead oblivion, losing half 
The fleeting moments of too short a life? 
Total extinction of the enlightened soul ! 

Thomson's Season* Summer. 

We are not of the night, nor of darkness : therefore let ;i< 
not sleep as do others. \Th*>- 



THIRD EDITION. 



LONDON. 

PRINTED FOR TAYLOR AND HESSEY, 
No. 93, FLEET STREET. 



T. Miller, Printer, Noble Street, Cheaptidf. 



TO 

MRS. HANNAH MORE. 



MADAM, 

I AM aware that it is frequently the 
custom of those who are placed in simi- 
lar situations to myself, to profess their 
hatred of flattery, and their determina- 
tion to prove it by their conduct, and 
yet falsify their own professions, by 
conveying their adulation in the very 
language which is employed to reprehend 
it. But it is enough for me, to recollect 
that I am dedicating this series of letters 
to one, whose life is influenced by the 
principles, and whose opinions are formed 
upon the truths of the Bible, to check 
the feeling, however strong it may be, 
that would lead me to say what I may 



still conscientiously think. If praise 
could have produced in your mind those 
bad effects which too frequently attend it, 
you would long ago have been the vic- 
tim of its jfascination ; and I should be 
much too late, as well as too inconsider- 
abk, to add to its evil consequences. 

With regard to the subject of the 
succeeding Letters, I can only say, 
Madam, that it is connected in some 
measure with the leading principles 
which have been enforced by your writ- 
ings. It is an important branch of 
" Christian morals," and forms a distin- 
guishing feature in "practical piety:" 
it is of great importance to the young, 
whose interests have always been so 
near your heart, and its adoption would 
be of essential benefit in that large and 
elevated class of society, whose " man- 
ners" have received a new impression 
from your delineation of them : whilst 



the motives from which it ought to pro- 
ceed, are such as are inculcated in the 
writings of the great apostle of the Gen- 
tiles, and are presented in the pages of 
the whole of the sacred volume. 

That you, Madam, the morning of 
whose life has been so beneficially, and 
consequently, so happily employed, may 
enjoy a calmness of mind, and a " peace 
which passeth all understanding," pro- 
portionably increasing as the shades of 
evening advance around you, is the 
sincere wish, and shall form the earnest 
prayer of, 

Madam, 

your very obedient 

and devoted servant, 

THE AUTHOR. 
August, 1818. 



PREFACE. 

IT is to be lamented that the world has been 
deprived of a considerable portion of useful 
knowledge and valuable instruction, by men 
of eminent talents declining to employ them 
upon homely and practical subjects. 

There are but few, comparatively speak- 
ing, who possess sufficient information, and 
are at the same time addicted to that habit of 
attention and application which is necessary 
to compose a treatise upon any subject. And 
of those few, some are prevented by the im- 
portunate avocations of business, others are 
deterred by a diffidence of their own abilities ; 
while those who can command both time and 
confidence, generally follow the direction in 
which their taste has led their genius, or draw 
from those stores which their profession has 
compelled them to accumulate. 



Thus, while the superiority of some minds 
almost disdains such topics as afford but little 
room for the display of their learning or their 
wit, the particular bias of others entirely over- 
looks them. The benevolence of Addison, 
however, happily overcame this literary pride ; 
and to him, together with his coadjutors and 
his imitators, we are in no small degree in- 
debted for that refinement of manners, and 
correctness of morals, which distinguish our 
own country. But notwithstanding our Bri- 
tish Essayists, have so admirably and so suc- 
cessfully exposed the follies, and censured the 
vices of their respective cotemporaries, an 
observer of no extraordinary penetration may 
still discover in every department of society 
much to ridicule, and more to reprehend. 
There being no prying Spectator in the pre- 
sent day to mark the delinquencies of private 
life, no busy Tatler to report them to the 
world, and no friendly Guardian to caution 
the rising generation against their commission ; 
fearing that talents might never stoop to the 
consideration of so simple a subject as that 
which occupies the following pages; but at 



the same time being convinced of its impor- 
tance, and concerned to find it so generally 
neglected, the Author has been induced to 
submit this little work to the public. 

It not unfrequently happens that the po- 
pularity of a name procures that success for a 
publication which its intrinsic merits do not 
deserve; and the peculiar excellence of a 
production sometimes confers that distinction 
upon a name which the writer does not antici- 
pate. But the Author being aware that his 
name is not of sufficient importance to give 
celebrity to his work, and conscious that his 
work will ever be too obscure to reflect lustre 
upon his name, feels a greater satisfaction in 
knowing he shall enjoy the privilege of con- 
cealment, than in wishing to obtain the honour 
of publicity. He congratulates himself upon 
thus escaping those anxieties which so often 
agitate the candidates for literary fame, being 
equally free from the apprehension of tarnish- 
ing laurels already won, and the desire of ac- 
quiring new ones, from the dread of censure 
and the hope of praise. He will also escape 
the suspicion of having been influenced, in 

b 



his humble attempt to destroy the palace of 
Somnus, by the same motive which induced 
Erostratus to burn the temple of Diana. 

The Author is sensible that he has a pow- 
erful antagonist to contend with. Should the 
weapons he has selected be found improper 
for the combat, or his own strength unequal 
to his foe; should he fail in every instance 
completely to defeat his enemy, perhaps he 
may so far weaken him, as to render him an 
easier conquest to one who is furnished with 
more suitable arms, and is able to wield them 
better. If he be altogether unsuccessful in 
the engagement, he hopes, at least, to stimu- 
late some generous mind to accomplish what 
he has attempted. 

The following observations on the advan- 
tages of early rising, and the evils of the con- 
trary practice, are offered in the form of Let- 
ters, the epistolary style appearing to be best 
adapted to the homeliness of the subject. 
Otherwise, either the fastidious ear of the re- 
fined reader would have been offended by the 
frequent repetition of common-place expres- 
sions, or the good sense of the more judicious 



would have been disgusted with the affected 
periphrases which must have been resorted to 
in order to avoid them. These Letters are 
addressed to persons whose ages and pursuits 
are different, with the view of rendering the 
remarks which they contain more immediately 
applicable to the circumstances of the reader, 
and therefore more likely to enforce convic- 
tion upon the mind, and to induce a reforma- 
tion in the habits. 

Should the Author, when mingling here- 
after in society, ever have the happiness to 
hear one parent say, in allusion to these pages, 
' By them I was first led to improve those 
hours which were formerly consumed in sleep, 
and thus I have not only been able to perform 
with ease the duties which before were often 
neglected, but I have also experienced the 
satisfaction of having set a good example to 
my children : ' Should he ever hear one lover 
of nature observe, ' To them I am indebted 
for the contemplation of scenes more lovely 
than I had ever beheld, and the pictures which 
creation now unfolds to my sight, are more 
beautiful than those which poetic imagery once 



presented to my fancy : ' Should he ever hear 
one student remark, * There was a time when 
my health was impaired in the same propor- 
tion as my knowledge increased, but they 
taught to me promote at once the vigour of 
my body, and the improvement of my mind : ' 
but especially, should he ever hear one chris- 
tian declare, ' my devotions have never been 
so ardent, and my faith has never been so 
strong, as in those seasons which they persuad- 
ed me to snatch from oblivion,' he will not 
consider his time mis-spent, or his labour ill- 
bestowed. 



.LETTERS 

ON 

THE IMPORTANCE, DOTY, AND ADVANTAGES 
OF 

EARLY RISING. 



MY DEAR SIR, 

I HARDLY think it necessary to 
begin this letter in the manner in which 
many are commenced, I mean, with an 
apology. Had our friendship been less 
sincere, or had our acquaintance with each 
other been of a shorter duration, I might 
have troubled you with a long list of suc- 
cessive engagements, and important avo- 
cations, which have prevented my earlier 
acknowledgment of the kindness which I 
so lately experienced whilst residing under 



your roof. The pleasures of that intimacy 
which we formed when at school, have been 
agreeably renewed ; and the various scenes 
which we have since witnessed, and the dif- 
ferent spheres of action in which we have 
moved, have failed to obliterate that early 
enthusiasm which so often animates the 
mind of the boy, but ceases to exert its do- 
minion over the reason of the man. The pro- 
fessions which are made of future faithful- 
ness, as they arise from the contracted views 
of present interest, are generally forgotten 
with the particular circumstances from 
which they spring : and I cannot help looking 
upon those occasional instances which are 
to be met with, of the early attachment of 
youth surmounting the obstacles which are 
opposed to them, with sentiments of pe- 
culiar satisfaction. And I am sure you 
will believe me when I tell you, that whilst 
my late visit to your hospitable mansion at 
Fairleigh received an addition to its enjoy- 
ments by recollections of the past, its agree- 
able engagements will afford me a subject 
for remembrance in future. 



EARLY RISING. 3 

Attached as I am to those pleasures 
which society affords, and having so little 
of the recluse in my disposition, or of the 
anchorite in my habits, nothing is so cal- 
culated to suit my taste, as the participa- 
tion in the little incidents of a domestic 
circle. And if any thing were wanting to 
complete the gratification which I derived 
from your individual society, and from the 
beautiful scenery of nature with which I 
was surrounded, it was amply supplied in 
the company of the amiable members of 
your family. When I want a living repre- 
sentation of unaffected manners and cordial 
hospitality, connected with that softening 
sweetness which maternal tenderness throws 
over the character, I shall immediately re- 
vert to Mrs. G.: and though I am not prone 
to any thing like extravagance in expres- 
sion, yet I do not remember in any instance 
to have found a young female in whom I 
was more interested than in Charlotte, or a 
young man to whom I felt more attached 
than to Charles; whilst the junior branches 
of the family served to call into exercise 



LETTERS ON 



those feelings of tenderness which are so 
benignant in their nature, and so beneficial 
in then- operation. Much of the comfort 
of every family depends upon its internal 
regulation and correct government ; and the 
enjoyment of an occasional visitor is ma- 
terially increased or diminished, in propor- 
tion as these are observed or neglected. 

But do not think, my dear William, that 
I am forgetting my own principles, and en- 
deavouring to make up for auy neglect of an 
earlier acknowledgment of your kindness, 
by paying in flattery what I owe in grati- 
tude. The expression of friendship that 
falls from the lips, is only valuable as it 
proceeds from the heart; and the profes- 
sions of regard which so readily flow from 
the pen, are only to be considered sincere, 
in proportion as they evidence themselves 
by the conduct of the life. Of all the de- 
testable instances of treachery, none was so 
base as that which betrayed with a kiss ; 
and if my own feelings and inclination did 
not prompt me to the sincerity which I am 
about to manifest, your repeated request 



EARLY RISING. 



that I would faithfully point out to you any 
deficiencies which I could perceive in your 
family arrangements, or any errors that I 
had detected in your individual conduct, 
would at once preclude that faithless shame, 
which so frequently disguises its odious 
qualities, by assuming the specious appel- 
lation of a proper delicacy. 

Under any other feelings than those by 
which I have professed myself to be actua- 
ted, I should have been led to adopt a veiy 
different line of conduct from that which I 
now intend to pursue. What the world 
calls politeness might have whispered in my 
ear, that finding fault was a rude return for 
a favour bestowed, and that it was a very 
questionable mode of expressing a sense of 
obligation, by interfering with the arrange- 
ments, and censuring the domestic economy 
of the family in which that obligation had 
been conferred. But sincerity, and (the 
only source from whence a genuine sin- 
cerity can flow,) that sense of duty which 
the doctrines of the Christian religion pro- 
duce, will teach a very different lesson; and 



LETTERS ON 



the recollection of the universal injunction 
of " doing unto others as we would be done 
unto," serves at once to remove every scru- 
ple from my mind, and to add greater zeal 
to my conscientious resolution. 

Do not be alarmed, my dear friend, 
when I begin by telling you, that I not only 
perceived with equal surprise and regret 
what appeared to me a very considerable 
deficiency in your family arrangements, but 
that the error to which I allude, was con- 
nected with the commencement of every 
returning day; that it was not an occasional, 
but an habitually repeated, delinquency; 
and that I very much fear, it is likely that 
it will not only affix a stigma to the little 
social community of which you are the 
head, but that its evil effects will be ex- 
tended down to the succeeding generation, 
on which you so often look with so paternal 
and anxious an interest. You will guess 
that I refer to the many, many hours con- 
sumed in bed, instead of being devoted to 
the numberless beneficial employments in 
which they might have been spent. And I 



EAR1Y RISING. 7 

really cannot help thinking, that, as your 
example is of so much importance to those 
who look up to you for a pattern, if I can 
convince you of the folly the worse than 
folly the guilt of this prejudicial habit, 
you will be not only neglecting your duty 
to yourself, but also to those in whose wel- 
fare you are so greatly concerned, if you do 
not endeavour at once to conquer it, and to 
be as instrumental in leading others to effect 
a similar victory, as you have been uninten- 
tionally the means of confirming them in 
their error. 

It is not at all unlikely that ere this you 
may have smiled at the importance which I 
appear to have attached to what has seldom 
occupied your thoughts; and been even 
pleased to think, that the formidable charge 
which you had anticipated, has ended in an 
arraignment to which, though you cannot 
plead " not guilty," you suppose that you 
have much to urge in mitigation of punish- 
ment. But, my dear friend, now that I 
have assumed the gravity and arrayed my- 
self in the imposing dignity of the judge, I 



LETTERS ON 



am determined to prosecute you with the 
utmost severity of the law; and though I 
shall listen with patience to all that you can 
urge in your defence, yet I am resolved that 
the emotions of friendly attachment shall 
iiot interfere with the sterner justice of my 
judicial character. 

It is a very possible case that you may 
be led to suspect that I shall not be suffici- 
ently disinterested ; that I am attached to 
the peculiar habits of my own life, and 
therefore censure those of others which do 
not agree with them. But, whilst I am 
very willing to acknowledge that a long 
continued course in any particular line of 
conduct serves to excite our prejudices in 
its favour, yet I would also at the same 
time remind you, that if that course was 
originally adopted upon the convictions of 
judgment and the dictates of conscience, a 
perseverance in it ought only to increase 
its importance, and to render the testimony 
of such a man of superior value and greater 
weight. And when in addition to this it is 
found, that this course resulted from a tho- 



EARLY RISING. 



rough persuasion of the error of that which 
had been abandoned, and was continued on 
a contrast of the advantages of the one 
with the evils of the other, it surely will be 
no objection that the party who recom- 
mends, possesses all the knowledge which 
experience affords ; whilst the party who 
opposes, labours under all the disadvan- 
tages which the want of it occasions. 

But I really feel, my dear William, 
that f am now doing you an injustice, in 
believing for one moment that you can se- 
riously defend the indolent and pernicious 
habit to which I have alluded. An excuse 
is surely all you will attempt to urge ; and 
even this I would not admit, if you should 
venture it. I must in your case pronounce 
it inexcusable : and whilst as a friend I so 
very deeply regret that you should be daily 
committing what appears to me a very 
culpable sin, I am also anxious that you 
should partake of the pleasures, and share 
with myself the advantages, which the 
practice of early rising affords. But if you 
should be inclined to adduce any extenuat- 

B5 



10 

ing circumstances, I feel so confident of 
the high ground on which I stand, that 
I shall not only be happy in meeting them, 
but must anticipate your complete surren- 
der to my opinions. And should that sur- 
render of the judgment lead to a corre- 
sponding change in the conduct, I shall 
rejoice ; and I am sure you will not regret 
that I ever alluded to the subject. 

But though I did not begin with an 
apology, 1 will end with one. I am in- 
truding upon your valuable time : to the 
writer it is not of so much importance, as 
he has most likely lived, and thought, and 
moved, and acted, two or three hours more 
to day than you have; but to the reader 
who has lost those precious hours, the en- 
gagements of the day are more than suf- 
ficient for the extent of its duration. 

Adieu. 



EARLY RISING. 11 

LETTER II. 

To the same. 

MY VERY DEAR SIR, 

YOUR reply to my letter was just 
such an one as I had reason to expect 
from the knowledge which I possess of 
your character, and the proofs which I 
have seen of the ingenuousness of your 
disposition. You are quite right in sup- 
posing that I shall consider it no labour to 
resume the subject to which I before al- 
luded, and to afford you such further in- 
ducements to overcome a most disgraceful 
and destructive habit as my own experience 
may suggest. You are not the only one 
who regrets having neglected to form the 
habit of early rising when young; and I 
will not pretend to conceal, what your bet- 
ter judgment must convince you of, that it 
will be a much less easy task now, than it 
would have been thirty years -ago. But if 



LETTERS ON 



there are greater difficulties in the way, 
yet there are some inducements calculated 
to operate upon you now, of a more power- 
ful nature than there would have been then. 
In youth the question is merely personal : 
if the self-indulgence which the practice of 
lying in bed longer than the requirements 
of nature demand be criminal, its bad ef- 
fects are confined to the individual ; but 
when placed at the head of a family, there 
is the double responsibility which is at- 
tached to particular and relative guilt. The 
influence which ought to be exerted over 
others to induce them to follow what is 
right, becomes a talent abused, when this 
use is neglected to be made of it ; and 
really I am most inclined to be earnest 
whilst dwelling upon this my confessedly 
darling theme, when I recollect that in the 
observance or neglect of it, so much of 
the comfort or [uneasiness of every member 
of a family is involved. 

But it is far from being too late to cor- 
rect your error. I am very well aware 
of the power, of habit ; that by repetition, 



EARLY RISING. 



those acts, which at first were difficult to 
be performed, are done quite mechanically ; 
and that those manual operations, which at 
first required the closest attention of the 
mental faculties, are afterwards effected 
without any perceptible intellectual exer- 
tion. But the great difficulty in overcom- 
ing any particular habit consists in this : 
by repetition it appears to be almost na- 
tural; a part as it were of our physical 
constitution, and connected with the very 
first principles of our bodily conformation,; 
and thus, the reason, no longer directed to 
the consideration of how far it is right or 
wrong, deserts its proper office, and takes 
its station very frequently on the side which 
it ought to oppose. But where the voice of 
conscience and the dictates of duty are 
resorted to, where the judgment is suffered 
to exert itself unbiassed by prejudice and 
partiality, there we have only to arouse 
the conscience and convince the judgment, 
in order to lead to the exercise of these 
powers which shall at once break off the 
tetters of habit and chains of custom. 



14 LETTERS ON 

Where, notwithstanding such a conviction 
is produced, habit is still suffered to prevail 
over conscience, \ve have a lamentable in- 
stance of human frailty, and a melancholy 
proof of the debasement which sin has pro- 
duced. Whilst the slave of his passions 
may adopt the sentiment, 

" Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor," 

I hope my friend will nearer resemble the 
character which our immortal Milton has 
sketched, and which forms so perfect a 
contrast to the idea of the heathen poet : 



Approve the good, and follow what I approve." 

Amidst all the inventions which have 
been introduced within these few years, I 
do not remember to have seen a single in- 
stance of any letters patent having been 
granted, " for a new and effectual method 
of making time!" And yet I cannot but 
think this would be a much more valuable 
discovery than the philosopher's stone it- 
self; inasmuch as the one would put into 



EARLY RISING. 15 

our possession what the easily-created gold 
of the other could never have purchased. 
Now, though I do not intend to obtain 
any exclusive privilege either of using or 
of communicating to others this discovery, 
yet I certainly do think that the adoption 
of the daily habit of early rising, would 
most completely effect all that could be 
desired from such an invention. Only sup- 
pose, for one moment, a man engaged m 
some important undertaking, one which 
required the exertion of all his powers ; to 
which he must bring all the Stores of his 
memory, and the fruits of past diligence, 
and on which he must exercise every fa- 
culty that he possessed ; whilst the object 
to be attained was to be effected within a 
limited period ; or all his labour, his fa- 
tigue, his anxiety, his earnestness, and his 
assiduity would be of no avail. Would he 
not readily promise a portion of his ex- 
pected reward to the friend, who could 
reveal to him a plan, by which the hours he 
had calculated upon as intervening between 
the time of the commencement of his un- 
dertaking, and the period for its comple- 



16 LETTERS ON 

tion, could be nearly doubled ? by which 
he might live as long again as those who 
were passing through the same apparent 
number of days ? I will neither antici- 
pate your reply, nor extend my letter, by 
dwelling on the application. You, my 
dear friend, have a mighty work to per- 
form : you have a heaven to seek, a hell to 
shun, a wicked heart to subdue, and a cor- 
rupt nature to overcome. The space al- 
lotted you for this purpose is very short, 
and I point out to you a way by which it 
may be lengthened. 

But though I cannot but consider the 
value of time an argument sufficiently 
strong in itself, without any other, to con- 
vince you of the importance of the habit 
which I urge upon you, yet I will not dwell 
upon this, as the hint alone must be suf- 
ficient to lead you to further reflection. 
My object is rather to direct your attention 
to some few circumstances connected with 
the practice which I am recommending, 
which might not have immediately occurred 
to you. Every one must acquiesce in the 
proposition that " time flies ; and there- 



EARLY RISING. 17 

fore we should make the best use of it :** 
but this has been so often repeated, that 
unless something else can be advanced, 1 
fear I shall not succeed in making many 
converts. Would the generality of men 
but adopt for their motto in its best and 
noblest sense " Dum vivimus vivamus,*" 
I should not now be lamenting a prevalent 
custom, which, however it may enslave 
those who are neither manly, virtuous, nor 
religious enough to overcome it, will, I 
hope, be no longer the disgrace of my 

friend. 

Yours, very sincerely. 

* Dr. Johnson iu alluding to Dr. Doddridge's extended 
translation of these words, which formed his family motto, 
has pronounced it to be the best epigram in our language. 
We present our readers with it, as amply justifying the 
high commendation of this cautious dispenser of liis 
praises. 

" Live, while you live," the epicure would say, 
" And seize the pleasures of the present day." 
" Live while you live," the sacred preacher cries ; 
" And give to God each moment as it flies." 
Lord ! in my views let both united be ; 
J live in pleasure when I live to thee ! 



LETTER III. 

To the same. 

MY DEAR SIR, 

THERE are very few errors which 
we commit, and very few sins of which we 
are guilty, whose bad effects are confined 
to their immediate consequences. These 
are generally seen as more directly result- 
ing from them j and therefore they who en- 
deavour to point out the impropriety of 
those errors, or the guilt of those sins, lay 
the greatest stress upon what appears to 
carry conviction with it. But there are 
certain collateral disadvantages (if I may so 
express myself), which accompany such 
actions as are radically and intrinsically 
wrong. Among these, the influence of ex- 
ample may be regarded as one of the most 
conspicuous. In order that you may more 
clearly comprehend my meaning, I will en- 
deavour to point out to you one of these 



EARLY RISING. 19 

evils, which is the constant attendant upon 
the prejudicial habit of indulging yourself 
in bed. Independent of the loss of time 
which it occasions, and the injury which it 
does to the health, which may be looked 
upon as the immediate and direct effects of 
this custom, it induces an indecision of 
character which is every way incompatible 
with energy of mind, and strength of reso- 
lution. There are very few mental quali- 
ties of greater importance in our intercourse 
with mankind than that of decision : your 
individual experience has often convinced 
you of this, and the calamities which have 
been produced by the want of it, have 
fallen upon several within the sphere of 
your acquaintance : whilst, if it were neces- 
sary, I could direct your attention to a 
more extensive scene, and point to you 
several events recorded in the page of his- 
tory, which would serve still more forcibly 
to prove the value of this principal ingre- 
dient in the composition of a very great 
character. Now let me put it to your bet- 
ter judgment, whether the habitual laziness 



20 LETTERS ON 

in which you daily indulge, is not altogether 
inconsistent with this ? If the only reason 
why you have not long ago overcome this 
habit, is the sacrifice the conquest would 
cost you, let me ask you, what is your 
opinion of the drunkard or the glutton who 
makes this his excuse ? Does it tend for 
one moment to palliate his crime, or to 
lessen the disgrace which his conduct has 
occasioned ? And though I feel very sorry 
to rank my friend on a level with such 
characters, yet I must in candour tell him, 
that the same principle which prevents 
them from abandoning their sin, operates 
in encouraging his ; and that the absence 
of that determination which would enable 
them to discard their disgraceful propensi- 
ties, has occasioned his continuance of a 
custom, which his conscience and his rea- 
son unite in condemning. And I must 
also tell you, that it is the abuse of the 
blessings of Providence, which in both in- 
stances attaches a peculiar turpitude to the 
crime which is committed. You are not a 
stranger to the pleasures which are always 



EARLY RISING. 

the attendants upon an act of commendable 
self-denial. You, I am sure, have often 
felt that satisfaction which has resulted 
from the conquest of some tyrant passion, 
and have wondered how you could ever 
have been its slave. 

" The joys of conquest are the joys of man j" 

and if you wish to enjoy all the pleasures of 
a triumph where its laurels are unstained 
with blood, and its palm of victory is un- 
steeped in tears, let me intreat you daily to 
obtain them, by manifesting a superiority to 
this slothful habit; and I will promise you, 
that not a sigh shall escape from you on the 
recollection of the downfal of your enemy. 
Perhaps a stronger argument for the 
practice which I am recommending to you 
cannot be urged, than an appeal to your 
own experience. Let me inquire of you, 
when peculiar circumstances of business, 
or other sufficiently strong inducements 
have led you to rise earlier than usual, 
what have been your feelings ? Have you 
not been surprised at your past insensibility, 



1E1TKRS ON 

that could suffer you to lose so much valu- 
able time? Have you not despised yourself 
for having given way to what is generally 
called an indulgence, but which you have 
found to be a complete obstacle to the 
most exquisite of all indulgencies ? Have 
you not, in spite of your recollections of 
past habits, experienced something like a 
feeling of contempt for those who were still 
locked in sleep, instead of exerting the fa- 
culties nature had bestowed on them ? who 
were " tossed in a sea of dreams," instead 
of employing their judgments when they 
were most capable of exercise ? Have you 
not felt the force of the sentiment, 

" Tis brave to wake, lethargic souls among, 
To rise, surrounded by a sinking throng ? 

and in all the pride of your self-complacent 
superiority, have you not pitied from your 
heart the slaves of sloth, who were too ab- 
ject even to desire their emancipation from 
its tyranny ? 

There is certainly a very peculiar self- 
ishness about some of our enjoyments, and 



EARLY RISING. 23 

though many might distinguish them by a 
more pleasing appellation, yet I cannot help 
thinking that this is a just one. How often 
have we heard the roaring of the wind as 
we have sat securely sheltered from its 
rage, and casting an eye of pleasure on the 
comforts of our apartment, how often have 
we drawn our chairs nearer to our fires, and 
thinking on the unfortunate persons who 
were exposed to all the fury of the boister- 
ous ocean, hugged, as it were, our blessings 
closer to our bosoms, and found them more 
valuable than ever, because there were some 
who did not possess them ? How often have 
we rattled along in a snug post-chaise, whilst 
the snow or rain was spending all its fury 
on the poor pedestrian who was getting out 
of the way of our vehicle, and, with a very 
natural exclamation of " poor man," found 
our situation the more enviable from the 
comparison ; and soon exchanged our sym- 
pathies for the object of our commisera- 
tion, for more agreeable reflections on our 
own superior shelter?* If you think these 

, * This sentiment has been beautifully illustrated by 
Lucretius in the following lines : 



24 LETTERS ON 

feelings desirable, only rise earlier every 
morning than those around you, and you 
will experience them in their full effect; 
but with this material difference, that whilst 
those which are produced in the manner 
first alluded to, are enhanced by the misfor- 
tunes of those whose situations are placed 
in contrast to our own, and consequently, 
involve something really ungeneroas about 
them; such as are occasioned by early 
rising, are increased by a very justifiable 
pity of the insensibility of those who have 
them in their power, if they would but ex- 
ert themselves a little to obtain them. 

And what a complete contrast do such 
feelings as these afford, to those which are 

" Suave raari magno turbandbus aequora vends 
terra magnum alterius spectare laborem ; 
Non quia vexari queiuquam jucunda voluptas, 
Sed quibus ipse raalis careas quia cernere suave est." 
LUCEET. lib. 2. 

Thus elegantly translated by Mr. Mason Good. 

" How sweet to stand, when tempests tear the main, 
On the firm cliff, and mark the seaman's toil : 
Not that another's danger soothes the soul, 
But from such toil, how sweet to feel secure." 



LAK1.V RISING. 25 

experienced in rising from a bed of sloth 
and laziness. You are very far from being 
the only person, who, when I have alluded 
to this subject, has acknowledged himself 
fully alive to its importance, but confessed 
that he needed some stronger excitement 
than he had ever yet received to rouse him 
from his lethargy. And what is the natu- 
ral consequence of such a conviction of 
the judgment, and such a failure in the 
practice ? Each morning, instead of being 
commenced with sentiments of gratitude 
to that kind and paternal Being who has 
added another day to his former mercies, 
is accompanied with a bitter reflection on 
his again becoming the slave of a habit 
which he detests, but is unwilling to re- 
linquish. A softness is thrown over the 
disposition altogether inconsistent with the 
courage and strength which the daily con- 
cerns of business require. A dissatisfac- 
tion with self is produced, which sours 
the temper, and which is opposed to every 
thing amiable and pleasing. Every object 
that presents itself is veiled in a gloom 
c 



LETTERS ON 



which invests it in a peculiar melancholy 
hue, and deprives it of the power of 
bestowing the pleasures that it may be 
really calculated to afford. The mutual 
endearments of the social circle are sus- 
pended ; and very often the brows of the 
more aged are knit into a frown at the 
artless cheerfulness of the young, arising 
from an envy of their happiness, a near 
resemblance to which might have been 
enjoyed by themselves. The day thus com- 
menced cannot be expected to be spent 
with satisfaction, or to be finished with 
self-approbation . 

Before I conclude, my dear G , 

I would also remind you of another effect 
which early rising produces. The day ap- 
pears to have considerably advanced when 
others are commencing it, and on looking 
back, during its later hours, it seems to 
have comprized a much longer space than 
it really has done. The time that has been 
gained in the morning deserves this appel- 
lation. It has been snatched from sleep, 
which did not really require it, but is so 



EARLY RISING. 27 

covetous a creature that it will take all that 
it can get. As you look back with self- 
complacency to the morning hours, the 
effect is something similar to that produced 
by a vista. The objects at the further ex- 
tremity appear to be at a much greater 
distance than they actually are ; whilst the 
mind on each retrospective view, derives a 
new source of satisfaction from the delu- 
sive idea of our having passed over more 
ground, and advanced much farther than 
we really have. If this description should 
not now be very intelligible to you, I hope 
an experimental acquaintance with the sen- 
sations described, will in a few days render 
its meaning perfectly clear. 

Yours sincerely. 



LETTER IV 

7o the same. 

MY DEAR SIR, 

IT has often been a source of 
regret to you that the attention which your 
mercantile pursuits required, and the large 
proportion of your time which they occu- 
pied, in a great measure precluded you 
from the enjoyment of those literary plea- 
sures which were so congenial to your 
taste, and so natural a result of your excel- 
lent education. Indeed, I have not unfre- 
quently heard you express a wish, and that 
with a degree of earnestness which seemed 
very likely to end in a determination, to 
give up your present lucrative connections, 
and to devote the remainder of your life to 
an uninterrupted participation in your fa- 
vourite amusements. But however much 
I may feel inclined to sympathize with you 
in admiring the objects of your taste, and 



EARLY RISING. 



however anxious I might be for you to 
possess the power of indulging it to a 
greater extent; yet I could never advise 
my friend to suffer a propensity, however 
innocent in itself, or intellectual in its na- 
ture, to induce him to forget the duties 
which he owes to a numerous family, and 
to be regardless of the folly that would 
mark his conduct, if he were to throw away 
his present opportunities of usefulness, and 
materially diminish an influence that has 
hitherto been beneficially employed, merely 
to enjoy the gratifications which the men- 
tal powers might require. The ancient 
writers have told us that " a man of bu- 
siness may talk of philosophy, and a man 
of leisure practise it." But I should be 
very sorry indeed if its discussion were con- 
fined to the former class, or its influence 
exclusively felt by the latter. Since the 
pristine curse has been extended from ge- 
neration to generation, and the food of man 
has been obtained by the sweat of his 
brow, daily labour has become the lot of a 
large proportion of the human race; and 



30 LETTERS ON 

the varied occupations of commercial or 
professional engagements, only serve as a 
milder infliction of the sentence. Nor can 
I help reminding you of the incalculable 
proportion of happiness which would be 
lost, if diligent application and industrious 
assiduity did not occupy a very consider- 
able space in the life of man. But if these 
employments tended to check those mental 
energies, and to annihilate that exercise of 
the reasoning faculties which distinguish 
us from the brutes ; if they limited that en- 
largement of comprehension, that extent of 
view, that improvement of the judgment, 
and that refinement of the taste, which phi- 
losophy, when properly understood, is cal- 
culated to produce ; we should very soon 
leave that high station in the order of cre- 
ated beings which we at present maintain, 
and sink below the level of the subjects of 
mere instinct the slaves of our passions, 
and the victims of our lusts. 

That there is, in fact, nothing inconsis- 
tent between the cultivation of mind, and the 
details of business, is very capable of proof. 



EARLY RISING. 31 

And though we generally find that those 
men who have devoted their lives, and di- 
rected their attention, to the study of that 
which is necessary to qualify them to exer- 
cise what is designated by the name of a 
profession, have been most distinguished for 
their literary attainments, (the natural result 
of their being more conversant with books,) 
yet the minuter parts of their employments 
are very similar in their mere mechanical 
properties to the occupations of men of 
business, and require the assistance of as 
little of the intellectual energies as the ordi- 
nary avocations of the tradesman. Indeed, 
there is a certain something about these oc- 
cupations every way favourable for eliciting 
mental activity. The collision of opposite 
sentiments, the employments of each return- 
ing day, the mental as well as corporeal 
exercise that is required, and the incitements 
to perseverance which are offered, stimulate 
the reasoning faculties, and, like the mus- 
cular exertions of the wrestler, strengthen 
each nerve by its successive employment. 
I need not take up much of your time 



LETTERS ON 

to convince you of the truth of this ; indeed 
you have the advantage of me here, for you 
have long found by experience the correct- 
ness of what I am endeavouring theoreti- 
cally to prove. The engagements of a man 
of business are those which he voluntarily 
undertakes, in order to obtain some pro- 
posed object. Either the inherent love of 
employment, the claims of relative con- 
nexions, or an ambitious desire of pre- 
eminence, afford the first incitements to 
exertion, and the constant inducements to 
perseverance. Some end is steadily kept 
in view, whilst the mind, eager to avail 
itself of every thing that can serve as an 
auxiliary to its accomplishment, is ever on 
the alert for something to assist its plans. 
If the object proposed be gained, another 
instantly presents itself, and thus the first 
motives still continue to operate, and keep 
alive an emulative spirit. But it does not 
follow that because a constant succession 
of exertions is the direct road to the com- 
pletion of his purposes, that the man of 
business is never to pause, and to pluck a 



EARLY R IS TNG. 



few of the flowers that tempt him in his 
progress. The only evil which can attend 
such an indulgence, is, when it interferes 
with the time which should be devoted to 
the calls of duty, and which is indispensably 
necessary for the accomplishment of his 
original purpose. 

Now, to you, my dear friend, I know 
that I shall be offering a valuable piece of 
advice, and doing an essential service, by 
impressing on your memory, that, circum- 
stanced as you are at present, the only me- 
thod by which you can indulge in your 
favourite and laudable recreation, is by 
withdrawing a portion of those hours which 
are now devoted to some other purpose, 
and reserving it for this. Your mercantile 
engagements completely absorb every mi- 
nute of the day, and the pleasures of the 
family circle and social party generally 
occupy the evening. Where then can you 
look ? If I point you to a part of your life 
which is spent in a manner that is useless 
that is worse than useless is prejudicial to 
your mind and destructive of your health, 
c 3 



34 LJETTEKS ON 

I shall not be asking too much of you, if I 
only solicit you for one week, to try the 
experiment which I would recommend. 
Rise two hours earlier every morning. Cal- 
culate this. It gives you fourteen hours in 
a week an additional day and your most 
sanguine wishes would be satisfied by one- 
seventh of your time being devoted to lite- 
rary pursuits. I only fear that you have 
started at the thought of allowing them so 
much ; if so, my dear friend, let me remind 
you, that after having given you the time, I 
accompany the present with no stipulations, 
it is your own ; and you may use it as 
you please. 

But before I bid you once more fare- 
wel, in order to remove every scruple from 
your mind respecting the propriety of de- 
voting so much time in the manner I have 
mentioned, f must beg you to remember, 
that no hesitation will ever be felt on ac- 
count of its withdrawing your attention 
from the concerns of business and the calls 
of duty. It would be a portion of the day 
hitherto altogether lost ; and you will never 



EARLY RISING. 35 

have those scruples which you now proba- 
bly sometimes feel, as to the propriety of 
your being thus engaged. And should an- 
other doubt ever arise, as to the compatibi- 
lity of mental improvement and intellectual 
pursuits with the details of business, I will 
candidly acknowledge to you, that on a 
comparison of myself as a man of leisnre, 
with you as a man of business, I consider 
the advantages to be on your side. With 
those, whose attention to literature is purely 
speculative, there is great danger of its ter- 
minating in mere theory. You will not 
mistake my meaning by supposing that 
I now allude to the passing literature of the 
present day. I refer to those philosophical 
acquirements, and that species of know- 
ledge, which are only to be obtained by 
resorting to the best of writers and the wis- 
est of men. The study of their works will 
never intefere with your other engagements ; 
but, on the contrary, will afford you an ac- 
quaintance with general truths, which are 
only of real service as they are ultimately 
applicable to practical purposes. It will 



36 LBTTEB* OK 

store your mind with that "knowledge" 
which, when exercised in the concerns of 
life, becomes indeed "power;" it will fur- 
nish your memory with those immutable 
principles that form the basis of all those 
rules of conduct, the adherence to which 
will induce a steadiness of mental resolve, 
and a vigour of judgment, which unexpect- 
ed occurrences, calculated to stagger the 
weak and confound the wavering, will never 
be able to disconcert. And let me remind 
you, that you possess another great advan- 
tage over the mere man of genius. You 
will return to your literary pleasures with a 
thirst for their enjoyment to which he is 
often a stranger. You will feel nothing of 
that " tedium vita" which so frequently 
presses upon his spirits ; and in the alter- 
nate vicissitude of mental speculation and 
practical application, you will gain all the 
knowledge that springs from the former, 
and command all the advantages that result 

from the latter. 

I am, &c. 

Yours very sincerely. 



EARLY*RISING. 37 



LETTER V. 

To Mrs. G. 

MY DEAR MADAM, 

I SCAECELY need begin by assur- 
ing you, that I feel no small degree of plea- 
sure in adding the name of another lady to 
the list of my epistolary correspondents, 
and more particularly so, under such cir- 
cumstances as have procured me the honor 
of now addressing you. ft certainly was 
with some considerable satisfaction that I 
understood that my late letters to my friend 
had not been confined to himself; and how- 
ever scrupulous I might have been in some 
cases about the perusal of such productions 
being extended to those to whom they were 
not originally addressed, yet on such a sub- 
ject, every thing that could offer itself in 
the shape of an objection would be at once 
dismissed. Letters in general, when they 
are really what they pretend to be, the ge- 



LETTERS OX 



nuine expression of the sentiments of one 
heart designed to win their way to another, 
lose much of their interest when read by a 
third person : and we have seen many in- 
stances of the injudiciousness of those bio- 
graphers, who have published much that had 
better have remained concealed, through a 
foolish expectation, that whatever proceeded 
from the pen of their favourite must interest 
the public. Indeed, in the present instance, 
the attention which appears to have been 
directed in your family to the subject of 
early rising, at once induces me to hope, 
that what 1 have already written has not 
been ineffectual, and encourages me to 
comply with your request, by communi- 
cating to you my sentiments with regard to 
its application to yourself in particular. 

Several of the remarks which I have 
already made, will apply to you as the mis- 
tress of a family, as well as to my friend as 
its head. But if I have considered it ne- 
cessary to recommend the practice of early 
rising to him, as a man of business, I feel 
it to be a subject equally deserving your 



EARLY RISING. 



consideration, as the mother of a family, to 
whom it is indeed peculiarly important. If 
the more public duties of life devolve on 
man, there are private ones of no less weight 
which are exclusively confined to woman ; 
and whatever superiority may in general be 
attached to the more obtrusive occupations 
of our sex, perhaps the balance of comfort is 
regulated by the less specious engagements 
of yours. It is in vain that we devote our- 
selves to the concerns of business, that we 
are fortunate in our speculations and suc- 
cessful in our exertions; in vain that we 
toil from day to day to augment our wealth, 
unles the pleasures which it can purchase, 
and the advantages it can command, are 
wisely regulated by you. Our labours in 
the Exchange, or in the Mart, in the office, 
the counting-house, or the shop, are stimu- 
lated by the desire of gaining those comforts 
which money can procure; but it is you who 
must render them truly deserving of such 
an appellation, by the wisdom that is dis- 
played in the management of the domestic 
economy, and the attention that is direct- 



ed to increase the endearments of home. 
The duties which devolve upon us are in- 
deed widely different, but they are suited to 
the comparative strength or weakness of 
each. Their diversity forms one of their 
most pleasing features : and the very con- 
trariety of their nature becomes a link of 
connection between them. And if ever I 
should be led to suffer pity for a person's 
ignorance, to assume any of the character- 
istics of contempt, it would be in that opi- 
nion which I should form of the man, who, 
proud of his own self-importance, and great 
in his own estimation, affected to despise 
what he gratuitously deemed the insignifi- 
cant employments of woman, and by a con- 
summation of meanness and cowardice, 
upbraided her with moving in a more con- 
tracted sphere than his own. If such be 
his sentiments, he has yet to learn, that the 
pleasure of society, and the harmony of do- 
mestic life, are dependent upon that sex 
whose smiles he can never deserve, and 
whose frowns he pretends to disregard. 
Though you might very properly charge 



EARLY RISING. 41 

us with interfering unnecessarily with your 
department of duty, if we were to presume 
to scrutinize into the minutiae of those family 
arrangements, the management of which is 
properly confined to yourselves, yet we can- 
not be insensible either to the advantageous 
results which are produced by a well-con- 
ducted system, or the inconveniences which 
arise from an ill-organized plan of domestic 
economy. Though we may not investigate 
all the parts, and pry into all the movements 
of the machine, we cannot be unconscious 
of its operations ; and affecting as they do 
our every-day comforts, we must be sensible 
ether of their failure or success of accom- 
plishing their designs. The secret cause 
(if it be right to style it so when writing to 
one to whom it has long been revealed, and 
in a great measure acted upon) the secret 
cause of all that disorder and confusion 
which prevail in many families, is the want 
of a systematic arrangement, which will 
always correct and remove the evil. We 
often see a vast deal of bustle, an unin- 
terrupted succession of exertions, and a 



continued round of occupations, and yet 
scarcely any thing appears to be effected : 
or, if done, it is so ill timed and so out of 
place, that one would almost wish it had 
been left unattempted. It is the want of 
method and the want of time that occasion 
this. Plans are formed, but no thought is 
previously bestowed upon them, because the 
design is resolved upon when the execution 
is needed. And even when there does ap- 
pear something like wisdom in the inten- 
tion, some unexpected occurrence inter- 
venes, some hinderance is presented, which 
disarranges every thing, and throws all into 
confusion. Let me, my dear madam, en- 
noble your truly honourable and useful daily 
avocations, by comparing your family to a 
little commonwealth, and place you at its 
head; investing you with the combined 
duties of legislative enactment and judicial 
execution. Let me suppose all your anxie- 
ties directed to the formation of wise laws 
for its guidance, and all your faculties 
engaged in devising suitable measures for 
its government; and that your personal 



EARLY RISING. 

influence was so necessary, and your con- 
stant superintendance so important, that 
they could not be dispensed with. Let me 
imagine your active employments to be so 
varied, that it required all the wisdom of 
pre-conceived arrangement to guide, and all 
the self-possession resulting from previous 
deliberation to direct them. And what, I 
would ask you, would be the course you 
ought to adopt? Would it not be to obtain 
these advantages, by appropriating the ear- 
liest part of the day to consider of the 
means best suited to the end to be obtained ? 
But you are actually in the precise situation 
which I have pictured to myself ; and only 
let me put it to your better judgment, how 
much would you gain if you were to devote 
two or three hours of the morning, in pre- 
paring for the active employments of the 
day? 

I may perhaps have allotted too large a 
space of time for previous deliberation. 
You may tell me, that it requires no such 
forethought to manage the concerns of a 
family ; and that I am recommending time 



LETTERS ON 



to be spent in inactivity, which might be 
turned to much better advantage. You 
are probably right. But you cannot refuse 
to grant me, that the time which would be 
thus gained would enable you to get through 
the duties of the day, in a manner much 
more consistent with the principles of good 
order and proper arrangement. The ac- 
tivity of mind and body that is felt in the 
morning, would render your occupations 
much less irksome than they must often 
prove at a later period of the day. Those 
employments which succeeded would be 
conducted better, for however trifling some 
of them may appear, if they are worth 
doing at all, they are worth doing well. 
You will have set an example to your ser- 
vants and domestics, which will produce an 
effect that entreaty or threats could never 
have obtained. Surely no servant would 
lie in bed when she knew that her mistress 
was up and active. A principle of shame 
would operate with all its force, and render 
her incapable of self-indulgence, when she 
would receive such a pointed practical re- 



EARLY RISING. 45 

proof. You would provide for the casual- 
ties of the day: unexpected hinderances 
would not disarrange your plans : unlocked 
for interruptions would still leave you much 
time upon hand. And one great advantage 
would be the result. The surplus hours, 
(ah ! surplus hours ! ! my dear madam, for 
I must believe that you have affixed a few 
mental marks of exclamation after these 
words,) would afford an opportunity for 
intellectual improvement. Your favourite 
authors would again be read. The pursuits 
of your earlier days, before the cares of a 
family and the anxieties of a mother were 
known, would again be indulged in : and 
thus would you render yourself even still 
better qualified than at present for your 
favourite employment, the instruction of 
your children. 

With every sentiment of respect, 
I am, madam, 

Yours very sincerely. 



46 LETTERS ON 



LETTER VI. 

To the same. 

MY DEAR MADAM, 

CERTAIN arguments which appear 
to have very little that is personal in their 
nature, or individual in their application, 
may be urged with effect, when appealing 
to the judgments of some persons, and en- 
deavouring to interest their feelings. The 
most forcible reasons which can be ad- 
vanced in favour of a particular line of 
conduct, are not such as are peculiarly cal- 
culated to affect themselves, so much as 
those which are connected with the happi- 
ness of others, in whose welfare they are 
greatly interested. This is perhaps more 
observable with regard to parents than any 
other description of characters, and is par- 
ticularly the case with the mother of a 
family. If you can but convince her that 
the happiness of her children is affected by 
what is recommended, although its adop- 



EARLY RISiNCI. 47 

tion may require a considerable degree of 
self-denial and personal inconvenience, yet 
such a forcible motive operates so power- 
fully upon her feelings that she cannot resist 
its constraining influence. The fabulous 
disinterestedness of the Pelican, which is 
represented as feeding its young with the 
blood which it has drawn from its own 
breast, is more than realized in the mental 
suffering which a fond parent often under- 
goes, in order to promote the welfare of her 
offspring ; and her constant solicitude and 
anxiety on their account, form the most 
pleasing answer to the scripture interro- 
gation, " Can a mother forget her sucking 
child, that she should not have compassion 
on the son of her womb ?" 

If the reasons adduced in my last Let- 
ter should have failed to produce their 
designed effect, I hope that those which 
may be advanced in this will be more suc- 
cessful. I feel that I am venturing upon 
ground which seems to possess a certain 
hallowed sanctity, and on which the foot 
of a stranger may leave a sacrilegious im- 



48 LETTERS ON 

pression. An interference with the edu- 
cation of the younger branches of a family, 
is often looked upon as conveying a tacit 
rebuke and a disguised censure. But I 
will not act in so covert a manner ; I will 
boldly confess to you that I mean to convey 
an open rebuke and an undisguised censure. 
And I do think, my dear Madam, that 
you will fail in a very essential part of your 
duty as a parent, if you neglect to invite 
your children, by the influence of your ex- 
ample, or to urge them by the authority of 
your commands, to appreciate the value of 
the habit of early rising. 

Much of your attention has been fre- 
quently directed to the best method of im- 
pressing upon the minds of your youthful 
charge the value of time. You have en- 
deavoured to enforce upon them a sense of 
its shortness, and of the necessity of im- 
proving each moment ere it be fled, and 
numbered " with the years beyond the 
flood."* You have accompanied your ex- 
hortations with all the earnestness which a 

Young. 



EARLY RISING. 49 

consciousness of the importance of the 
subject could create, and with all the ten- 
derness which an anxious parent could be 
expected to feel. And you have often con- 
sidered your own time profitably employed, 
when searching for the most effectual argu- 
ments and the most successful persuasions, 
to convince others of what experience had 
taught yourself. But let me remind you, 
my dear madam, that you have neglected 
one of the most powerful and convincing 
means of producing the wished-for result 
that lies within your reach. If they who 
are influenced by your example, and willing 
to obey your injunctions ; who are narrowly 
watching all the minutiae of your conduct, 
and comparing the probable excellence of 
your theory with the certain facts of your 
practice, with an acuteness of observation 
that you sometimes little suspect ; if they 
were to see by your daily habits how much 
you felt the indispensible necessity of that 
improvement of time which you had in- 
forced upon them ; that you denied yourself 
what they had been accustomed to regard 
D 



50 LE1VERSON 

as an allowable gratification; and if they 
were to experience, by an obedience to your 
commands, that they were every morning 
gaining a few of those hours which you had 
taught them to look upon as so precious, 
they would have the value of time brought 
home to them in a manner that no represen- 
tations, however just, could so eloquently 
convey; and no arguments, however irre- 
sistible, could so convincingly prove. 

There is an error which young persons 
are very apt to fall into, (and indeed it is 
very far from being confined to them,) 
which it should be a great object with a 
parent to correct. They look upon the 
larger portions of time as being of con- 
siderable importance, and attach to the 
names by which they are distinguished, ideas 
of a comparatively commensurate value. If 
you were to talk to them of shortening their 
existence, by blotting out a certain number 
of years, or even of months, they would shud- 
der at the thought, and be alarmed at the 
suggestion. But if you were to propose 
that a definite number of moments, or mi- 



EARLY RISING. 51 

liutcs, or perhaps of hours, should be taken 
away, though they might hesitate at the 
novelty of the surrender, yet they would 
soon console themselves by thinking on the 
insignificance of each individual particle, 
and would yield to the deprivation with but 
little reluctance. But the man whose ca- 
pacious mind embraces all the component 
parts of any given* subject, and who mi- 
nutely examines the details of atoms with 
the same facility as he includes in one com- 
prehensive grasp the extended mass which 
they form, would reject such a proposal as 
being equally inconsistent with reason, as 
that which appeared so to the meaner ca- 
pacity of the child. And if you would 
produce the same convictions, you must 
infuse the same principles which lead to 
them. Tell your youthful charge that the 
shore which surrounds their native land, 
and which has resisted for ages the rude 
attacks of the boisterous ocean, is com- 
posed of grains of sand; that the cable 
which prevents the floating bulwarks of 
their country from dashing against the rocks 



52 LE'lTERS ON 

that threaten them, consists of single fibres 
of flax ; that the lucid path which cir- 
cumscribes the heavens, is produced by an 
assemblage of countless stars ; that the 
largest numbers are formed of units; and 
that the lengthened space of succeeding 
ages which extends from the morning of 
creation to the present honr, is made up of 
single moments ; you will thus make them 
real economists of their time; you will 
render them avaricious, where avarice is no 
sin ; you will make them parsimonious, 
where parsimony is a virtue. Teach them 
to calculate for themselves. Let them find 
the sum in hours, to which a minute daily 
gained will amount. Let their computa- 
tions prove to them, " that the difference 
between rising between five and seven 
o'clock in the morning for the space of forty 
years, supposing a person to go to bed at 
the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent 
to the addition of ten years to his life:"* 
and then reverse the question. Propose 

* Vide Doddridge's Family Expositor. 



EARLY RISING. 53 

to them, that instead of gaining ten years, 
the same period be expunged; that it be 
given up to sleep and inaction : and you 
will convince them by the simplest rules of 
arithmetic, what a treasure may be acquired, 
and what a loss may be sustained. 

You are well aware of the great impor- 
tance which is to be attached to the early 
formation of useful habits, and how ma- 
terially the comfort of the subsequent part 
of our lives depends upon such having be- 
come familiar to us, as promote our moral 
and intellectual improvement. Man has 
been called " a bundle of habits ;" and that 
parent will act the most wisely, who takes 
care, that so far as she can assist in the for- 
mation of this bundle, it shall be composed 
of such habits only as her experience has 
taught her to approve, and her judgment to 
allow. And you as a mother have a very 
considerable influence in this respect. The 
maxim of Solomon, " Train up a child in 
the way he should go, and when he is old 
he will not depart from it," was not one of 
temporary application, but still retains all 



54 LETTERS ON 

its original force and truth. If it be in 
your power to regulate, in any degree, those 
principles of action which operate on the 
minds of your children, and which, after 
the repetition of their influence, assume the 
force of custom, affording not only a mere 
facility, but also an inclination and an im- 
pulse to perform ; it is of the highest im- 
portance that you should see them rightly 
and judiciously directed. If you are con- 
vinced of the duty and advantages of the 
practice of early rising which I have been 
recommending, and if you are willing to 
allow that its neglect is not simply an ab- 
sence of positive satisfaction, but even a 
commission of actual sin, you cannot hesi- 
tate for one moment about the propriety of 
addicting your offspring at an early age to 
this beneficial and salutary habit. And its 
being thus encouraged in childhood has a 
peculiar advantage connected with it, inde- 
pendent of the extent of time which would 
be gained, and which I have already no- 
ticed. If the sensual indulgence (for I 
cannot distinguish it by a milder term) of 



EARLY RISING. 55 

lying longer in bed than the necessities of 
nature require, becomes difficult to conquer 
in proportion to the time it has been che- 
rished, the most easy and effectual method 
of subduing it, is to check it before it has 
assumed so formidable a character as to 
need the exercise of any considerable de- 
gree of self-denial to overcome it. If you 
accustom your children to rise early, the 
practice will soon resemble instinct more 
than habit ; and appear to possess the na- 
tural properties of the one, rather than the 
acquired qualities of the other. There will 
be no necessity for the operation of the 
will ; intention will hardly be required ; 
thought will not be needed ; and the mov- 
ing principle will become mechanical rather 
than rational. They will rise when they 
wake with the same readiness as they retired 
to rest when weary : and as I have some- 
times observed, that the threat of send- 
ing them to bed before their accustomed 
time has instantly inforced obedience, and 
when insufficient, that the execution of it 
lias appeared a grievous punishment ; if 



LETTERS ON 



you wish at any future period to correct 
them, perhaps an equally effectual mode 
would be, to deny them the gratification of 
rising at their usual hour. 

I am, &c. 



SARLY RISING. 



LETTER VII. 

To the same. 

MY DEAR MADAM, 

IN my last letter I confined my 
observations on the pernicious habit of long 
indulgence in bed, to its effects upon the 
mind rather than the body, though its con- 
sequences are very prejudicial to both ; 
and on a recollection of the close connec- 
tion and intimate sympathy which exist be- 
tween them, you will be inclined to regard 
any diminution of bodily strength as affect- 
ing, to a greater or less degree, the energy 
of the mental powers. Nor can I help 
referring the long train of maladies with 
which so many are at present afflicted, and 
which, in the absence of a more distinguish- 
ing and specific term, are all ranked under 
the general title of nervous, to the immode- 
rate portion of time that is spent in bed. 
It may be a very difficult task to trace these 
D 5 



68 LETTERS ON 

disorders to their source, and hence so few 
of them are effectually removed by the use 
of medicine; yet they all evidently originate 
in a state of corporeal debility, which occa- 
sions a mental relaxation, and this twofold 
weakness produces those painful and dis- 
tressing sensations, which render their un- 
happy victims the object of pity and com- 
miseration. And if any remedy can be 
found to re-establish, however gradually, 
the enfeebled powers of the body, the dis- 
ordered faculties of the mind will, at the 
same time, be invigorated and restored : 
and it is certainly of very great importance, 
that those habits should be formed in chil- 
dren, which are calculated to prevent their 
becoming the subjects of these very gene- 
rally prevalent, and apparently increasing 
complaints. It is true, that scarcely any 
are willing to allow that the cause I have 
alluded to is instrumental in producing such 
an effect; but this is very far from proving 
that I am wrong. The evil has crept upon 
them so slowly, the malady has become 
formidable by such imperceptible advances, 



EARLY RISING. 59 

that they have not been aware of its ap- 
proach, nor can they now discover how it 
was introduced, though too well assured of 
its alarming progress. 

Do we find that our hardy ancestors 
ever complained of such disorders as we 
now lament ? Do we read of nervous affec- 
tions a few centuries ago ? Or, if you sus- 
pect whether the same disease may not 
have been distinguished by another appel- 
lation, do we find any thing at all symptoma- 
tic of the complaint ? Modern luxury may 
have concurred with some other circumstan- 
ces in producing this, but I believe that the 
pernicious habit of continuing an unneces- 
sary length of time in bed, has been one of 
the principal causes. Our forefathers rose 
at four, but many of their degenerated pro- 
geny lie till eight. The consequence of 
this, is a general relaxation of the nervous 
system, the muscles becoming unstrung, 
the spirits depressed, the mental faculties 
weakened, attended by all the melancholy 
accompaniments of hypocondriac affec- 
tions. "This tyrannical habit," says a 



forcible modern writer,* " attacks life in its 
essential powers ; it makes the blood forget 
its way, and creep lazily along the veins ; it 
relaxes the fibres, unstrings the nerves, eva- 
porates the animal spirits, saddens the soul, 
dulls the fancy, subdues and stupifies man 
to sucli a degree that he, the lord of the 
creation, huih no appetite for any thing in 
it, loathes labour, yawns for want of thought, 
trembles at the sight of a spider, and in the 
absence of that, at the creatures of his own 
gloomy imagination." 

I am not speaking speculatively here. 
.1 might be considered to be going out of 
my proper sphere, if I were to attempt to 
prove the truth of my assertions, either by 
shewing that such a result must, from our 
physical organization, necessarily follow, 
or by entering into a particular detail of the 
manner in which it operates upon the body ; 
though I might give you quotations from 

* Robinson's Morning Exercises. No. 1, Industry. 
The author would take the liberty of recommending this 
" Morning Exercise" to his readers, to which he was in- 
debted for many valuable hints in the composition of these 
Letters. 



EARLY RISING. 61 

most of our great medical writers, which 
would serve to corroborate my opinions, 
and establish the correctness of my senti- 
ments.* But I can appeal to facts, which 
are not only worth recording, but also worth 
remembering. It has been remarked by one 

* " Nothing," says Dr. Cheyne, " can be more preju- 
dicial to tender constitutions, studious and contemplative 
persons, than lying long in bed, lolling and soaking in sheets 
after any one is distinctly awake, or has slept a due and 
reasonable time. It necessarily thickens the juices, ener- 
vates the solids, and weakens the constitution. A free 
open air is a kind of cold bath, especially after rising out 
of a warm bed, and consequently makes the circulation 
brisker and more complete, and braces up the solids, when 
lying in bed dissolves and soaks them in moisture. This is 
evident from the appetite and hunger those that rise early 
feel, beyond that which they get by lying long in bed." 
Essay on Health and Long Life, b. iii. s. 6. 

Mr. Wesley, in his celebrated sermon " on the Duty 
and Advantage of Early Rising, 1 ' observes, that "one 
common effect of either sleeping too long, or lying too long 
in bed, is weakness of sight, particularly that weakness 
which is of the nervous kind. When I was young my 
sight was remarkably weak. Why is it stronger now than 
it was forty years ago ? I impute <his principally to the 
blessing of God, who fits us for whatever he calls us to ; 
bnt undoubtedly, the outward mean which he has been 
pleased to bless, was the rising early every morning." 



LETTERS OS 

of our judges* who availed himself of the 
opportunities which a long course of practice 
at the bar and experience on the bench af- 
forded,that whenever he inquired into the ha- 
bits of life of any witnesses who had attained 
a considerable age, he invariably found that 
they had long been, and still were, early 
risers, though in many other respects their 
practices differed, and were sometimes 
directly contrary. This is a fact worth 
more than a thousand speculative argu- 
ments ; it carries with it a conviction that 
renders further proof or further comment 
unnecessary. You may probably recollect 
the concise and excellent rules which the 
celebrated old Parr laid down for the pre- 
servation of health : and when I remind you 
that he attained the astonishing age of one 
hundred and fifty-two years, his advice upon 
the subject will possess a peculiar value. 
" Keep your head cool by temperance, 
your feet warm by exercise. Rise early, and 
go to bed soon. Never eat till you are hun- 
gry, nor drink but when nature requires it." 

Lord Mansfield. 



EARLY RISING. 6S 

As an instance, however, of the good 
effects of the habit of early rising, even 
upon persons afflicted with the maladies 
which I have supposed the neglect of 
it to produce, I will relate to you the case 
of a young lady who had deeply felt their 
baneful influence. She was reduced to 
such extreme weakness, as to require as- 
sistance in walking across the room ; and 
imagining so enfeebled a state required a 
larger portion of sleep, she generally lay 
eight or nine hours, but in the morning 
found herself as relaxed and fatigued as at 
night, and unable to dress without the relief 
of resting two or three times. On reading 
Wesley's sermon on early rising, she was 
so perfectly convinced of the propriety of 
the reasoning, that by rising gradually earlier 
every morning she soon lessened the time 
of sleep to six hours ; her strength daily 
increased, and by persevering in this 
practice, together with cold bathing and 
moderate exercise, the disorders which had 
so long afflicted her were removed ; and 
deeply sensible of the great mental and 



64 LETTERS ON 

bodily advantage of early rising, only re- 
grets that the habit had not been formed at 
a much earlier period of her life.* 

1 cannot conclude these observations 
without transcribing a very interesting little 
poem, written by the ingenious and learned 
Beloe. It will amuse you more than 
any lengthened quotations from medical 
writers, and your children may sooner com- 
mit it to memory, and will perhaps retain 
it longer, than any arguments, however 
weighty or just they might be. 

THE PURSUIT OF HEALTH. 

One April morn reclin'd in bed, 

Just at the hour when dreams are true, 

A Fairy form approach'd ray head, 
Smiling beneath her mantle blue ; 

" Fie, fie," she cried, " why sleep so long, 
When she, the Nymph you dearly love, 

Now roves the vernal flowers among, 
And waits for you in yonder grove ? 

This account has appeared in some of the last editions 
f Wesley's Sermon. 



EARLY RISING. 65 

" Hark ! you may hear her cberub voice, 
The voice of Health is sweet and clear, 

Yes you may hear the birds rejoice 
In symphony her arbour near! " 



I rose and liasten'd to the grove, 
With eager steps and anxious mind j 

1 rose the Elfin's truth to prove, 
And hop'd the promis'd Nymph to find ; 

My fairy took me by the hand, 
And cheerfully we stepp'd along, 

She stopp'd but on the new-plough'd land, 
To hear the russet woodlark's song; 

We reach'd the grove I look'd around, 

My fairy was no longer near ; 
But of her voice I knew the sound, 

As thus she whisper' d in my ear 

" The Nymph, fair Health, you came to find 
Within those precincts loves to dwell; 

Her breath now fills the balmy wind, 
This path will lead you to her cell.' 

I bended to the primrose low, 

And ask'd if Health might there reside; 
" She left me," said the flower, " but now 

For yonder violet's purple pride." 



'6 



I question'd next the Yiolef queen, 
Where buxom Health was to be found : 

She told me that she late was seen 
With cowslips toying on the ground. 

Then thrice I kiss'd the cowslips pale 
And in their dew-drops bath'd my face, 

J told them all my tender tale, 
And begg'd their aid coy Health to trace. 

" From us," exclaim'd a lowly flower, 
" The Nymph has many a day been gone, 

But now she rests within yon bower 
Where yonder hawthorn blooms alone." 

Quick to that bower I ran, I flew, 
And yet no Nymph I there could find, 

But fresh the breeze of Morning blew, 
And Spring was gay and Flora kind : 

If 1 retum'd sedate and slow, 

What if the Nymph I could not sec? 

The blush that pass'd along my brow 
Was proof of her divinity! 

And still her votary to prore, 
And still her dulcet smiles to sharr, 

111 tread the fields I'll haunt the grove, 
With untir'd steps and fondest care. 



EARLY RISING. 

O Sprite belov'd ! vouchsafe to give 

A boon, a precious boon, to me j 
Within thy influence let me live, 

And sometimes too thy beauty see 

So shall the Muse in nobler verse 
And strength renew'd exulting sing, 

Thy praise thy charms thy power rehearse, 
And sweep with bolder hand the string ! 



To you, my dear Madam, who feel so 
much of the tenderness of a mother ; who 
are so susceptible of her anxieties, and so 
elated with her pleasures ; who do not dis- 
play your affection by shedding a thousand 
tears over the childish sorrows of your off- 
spring, without a single effort to promote 
their comfort, nor waste that time in fruit- 
less forebodings of probable calamities, 
which might be much better occupied in 
such prudent exertions as would prevent 
their occurrence; to you these remarks 
will not be unavailing, offered as they are 
with all the candour which friendship could 
prompt, and with all the sincerity which a 
participation to a certain degree, in your 



LETTERS ON 



own affection for your children, could dic- 
tate. What will be my satisfaction, if the 
next time I visit your hospitable mansion, 
when, perhaps, the artless freedom of my 
little favourites is exchanged for the modest 
blush which the consciousness of riper 
age may produce ; when the unsuspecting 
confidence of childhood has been suc- 
ceeded by the retiring caution of maturer 
years ; and when the first buddings of the 
opening mind have expanded beneath the 
rays of maternal love, and displayed the 
characteristic tints and distinguishing co- 
lours, which will be only deepened by the 
succeeding seasons of advancing life : what 
will be my satisfaction, if to all the other 
sources of pleasure which I have found 
under your roof, should be added that of 
perceiving that my efforts to establish so 
important, so valuable, so necessary a ha- 
bit, have not been in vain. How shall 
I be gratified, if, when I once more join 
your domestic circle, instead of having the 
opportunity afforded me, as before, of de- 
voting my early hours exclusively to solitary 



EARLY RISING. 69 

meditation, I should be permitted to see 
the interesting group again assembled 
around their mother, their countenances 
glowing with all the animation which health 
can bestow, and their minds prepared to 
receive her instructions, by that peculiar 
aptitude for thought, and liveliness and vi- 
gour of intellect, which the exhilarating air 
of morning produces. I have not yet for- 
gotten, and with pleasure do I anticipate 
the repetition of those hours, when I have 
joined you in your delightful employment; 
when I have seen the deep interest with 
which you watched the countenances, and 
the scrutiny with which you endeavoured 
to read the hearts of your youthful charge ; 
with what anxiety each movement of their 
infant miiids was noticed ; how you listened 
to the expression of their sentiments, which 
served at once to mark the unfoldings of 
their thoughts, and to reward your care ; 
how desirous you were to check the first 
symptoms of rising passion, and to repress 
the first ebullition of each evil disposition ; 
how every virtuous wish was fostered, every 



70 LETTERS ON 

religious feeling strengthened ; how repeat- 
edly the mind was led from the immediate 
object of its contemplations, to consider- 
ations of higher importance, and subjects 
of everlasting moment; how often, by an 
unexpected remark, some great and valu- 
able truth was insinuated, finding its way 
to the heart through those avenues which 
unsuspecting confidence had laid open, and 
impressed upon the memory by the earnest- 
ness with which it was conveyed ; while 
that affection which gratitude prompted 
towards yourself, was diverted into a new 
channel, and led to " the Giver of every 
good and perfect gift;" while that deference 
to your wisdom which your maturer ex- 
perience invited, was directed towards Him 
in whom are hid " all the treasures of wis- 
dom and knowledge ;" while that sincerity 
which elicited the ingenuous confessions 
that opened to you the secrets of their 
hearts, was made the instrument of excit- 
ing a more unreserved reliance on Him 
who "readeth, and searcheth the heart, 
and trieth the reins of the children of 



EARLY RISING. 7* 

men:" and while the anxious hope was 
often felt, and the earnest wish was some- 
times whispered, that ihe mother's watchful 
eye might long be upon them, and her 
sheltering protection be extended over 
them, they were directed to one " whose 
years fail not," " with whom there is no 
variableness, neither shadow of turning," 
and were induced to offer up the earnest 
petition " our Father, wilt thou not from 
this time be the guide of our youth f " 

With the most earnest prayers that we 
may all be the children of such a parent, 
and under the direction of such a guide, 

believe me, my dear Madam, 

to be, yours very sincerely. 



LETTER VIII. 
To Miss Charlotte G. 

WY DEAR CHARLOTTE, 

DID you think that my promise 
was quite forgotten, or like many others 
that have been made on similar occasions, 
suffered to expire with the momentary im- 
pulse that led to it ? If so, I have the plea- 
sure of telling you that you were mistaken: 
that I am too selfish a being to allow my- 
self by breaking my own engagement, to be 
deprived of the satisfaction which I shall 
derive from your keeping yours. When you 
asked as a favour, that our acquaintance 
should not terminate with our personal in- 
timacy, I felt a much greater inclination to 
grant your request, than you could have 
done to make it. And now that we can no 
longer sit together, and read our favourite 
authors, amuse ours elves with our darling 
poets, or, rambling through your frequented 



EARLY RISING. ?5 

walks, peruse the book of nature, and mark, 
with equal admiration, some of its most 
pleasing characters, I often think in my 
solitary musings, of the converse which 
used to cheat the distance of our strolls ; 
and paint with vivid colours, though soften- 
ed by a mellower tint, the lovely scenes 
which surround your interesting dwelling. 

You have sometimes asked me, when 
an unexpected opening has afforded a com- 
mand of distant landscape scenery, and ex- 
torted from me a sudden expression of 
agreeable surprize bordering upon rapture, 
how such feelings were consistent with my 
advancing years, and I think you added 
with my sex ? You have told me you had 
imagined that the beauties of nature had 
but few charms for us; and however the 
ardent feelings of youth might impel us to 
admire them, you thought that the cares of 
business and our necessary intercourse with 
the world, extinguished those early sensi- 
bilities, and led us to look back with con- 
tempt on what we were now inclined to call 



LETTERS OX 



the dreams of fancy. But I believe you were 
partly convinced of your mistake, when I 
reminded you of several of your favourite 
authors, who retained, till the close of their 
lives, the same attachment for the beauties 
of nature as they had felt in their younger 
years. I am sure we should both of us little 
envy the man, who has never yet enjoyed 
that pure satisfaction which arises from the 
meditations of a leisure hour, spent amid 
the tranquillity of rural scenery ; who has 
never yet read the lesson which every open- 
ing bud and leaf present, and felt the moral 
in his heart; who has never gazed upon 
the varied beauties which are displayed 
around him, and feasting on the grandeur 
of the scene till his senses asked no more, 
ascended above these sublunary objects, 
and cried, " my Father made them all ;" 
who has never seen in the shades of the 
landscape, or heard in the songs of the 
grove, something more than a subject for 
the painter's canvas or the poet's lyre ; who 
has never discovered that from the stately- 
oak which stretches across the glade, to the 



EARLY RISING. 75 

minutest bud that is just bursting into being, 
there is a wisdom of design, and an omnipo- 
tence in execution, that mark the hand of 
the Deity ; that every leaf is a candidate 
for his wonder, and every fibre a subject 
for his astonishment ; whose passions have 
never subsided in the stillness of a summer's 
eve, whose sterner thoughts have never been 
relaxed by the softening influence of the 
stealing twilight ; whose " strife of working 
intellect," whose stir of " hopes ambitious," 
and whose conflict of contending wishes, 
have never yielded to the uninterrupted 
silence which seemed to upbraid his folly, 
and to endeavour to allay the tumult of his 
breast ; who has never inhaled the balmy 
breath of morning ; 

But, I believe, I am going too far. I 
fear I shall be venturing where you will not 
join in the censure through fear of its re- 
verting upon yourself. 1 have reminded 
you of your inquiry with regard to our de- 
ficiency, and your suspicion of our insensi- 
bility even when placed amid some of the 
most pleasing combinations of the beauties 



GUTTERS ON 



of nature; and permit me to remind you 
also, of the expressions of astonishment 
which sometimes escaped my lips, when I 
referred to your indifference to the loveliest 
scenes, and the richest landscapes which 
the country can afford. I need hardly tell 
you, my dear Charlotte, that I allude to 
those enchanting beauties which the morn- 
ing presents. With all your enthusiasm for 
the charms of nature, how can you suffer 
yourself to lose the opportunity of enjoying 
them in the greatest perfection? I can 
hardly give you credit for your sincerity, 
while you altogether neglect, or shew so 
much inattention to what has so high a 
claim upon your admiration. Do you 
know what you lose, by spending those 
hours in sleep which might be devoted to 
the most pleasing and most substantial en- 
joyment ? Only recollect the peculiar fas- 
cinations of the morning. Think upon the 
feelings which they are calculated to excite. 
Picture to yourself (and if you imagine I 
have painted in too glowing colours, rise to- 
morrow and compare it with the reality, and 



EARLY RISING. 77 

if there be one tint too vivid, one touch too 
flattering, destroy the painting and forget 
the artist,) picture to yourself a summer 
morning. The sun rising in all his native 
majesty, shedding his beams with a gentle 
influence, which, whilst it predicts their in- 
creasing power, teaches us to value their 
present mildness. Every object as it catches 
the first rays of " the powerful king of day," 
appearing to smile at his approach. The 
lengthened shadows that shoot across the 
meadow, slowly diminishing as he advances. 
The clouds that seemed to check his early 
progress, gradually yielding to his growing 
might, and " illumed with fluid gold," disap- 
pearing amid " the kindling azure." The 
glistening-dew drops, " stars of morning," 
impearling every leaf. Vegetation clothed 
in a richer verdure, and the variegated 
flowers in livelier hues. The groves re- 
sounding with the melody of the feathered 
tribes, who appear susceptible of gratitude 
for the return of the opening day. Whilst 
every animal is in motion, and seems to feel 



78 LETTERS ON 

a new satisfaction in the exercise of its ac- 
tive powers and the revival of its capacities- 
for enjoyment. 

You are aware how much of the 
pleasure or the pain that is experienced 
on the consideration of particular objects, 
depends upon the recollections with which 
they are connected. Comparatively very 
little inherent beauty can be found in any ; 
and those which we have regarded at one 
time as the fairest and most agreeable, we 
may have looked upon at another with in- 
difference, or even dislike. The seasons of 
the year, and the time of the day, have often 
considerable influence in producing this 
contrariety of effect; and different minds 
are variously affected by the same circum- 
stances. One man regards the bursting 
foliage of spring, and the universal verdure 
which then surrounds him, as the finest 
scenery which nature can afford ; whilst 
another gazes with rapture on the mingled 
tints of autumn, and the varied shades of 
colour which then diversify the grove. One 



EARLY RISING. 79 

delights to behold the rising sun throwing 
his beams across the smiling landscape, 
whilst another loves the parting ray that 
bids it a temporary farewel. But whatever 
may be the variety of taste, and without in- 
truding upon you my own (perhaps anti- 
quated) sentiments, I cannot but think that 
the associations which are connected with 
morning are much more exhilarating and 
more beneficial, than the melancholy feel- 
ings which the sombre shades of twilight 
produce. It is in the power of a creative 
fancy, to make the reflections which are 
excited much more agreeable than the 
images that lead to them. And it is in 
the morning, when the spirits are elated, 
and the disposition cheerful, that we sepa- 
rate those circumstances, which when com- 
bined with the objects that surround us 
give them a deforming aspect, and unite in 
the imagination what nature has kept dis- 
tinct, adding to the intrinsic beauty of the 
scenery the most interesting associations 
and pleasing ideal connections. 



80 LETTERS ON 

But in you, who are such an admirer of 
poetry, and so many of whose mental as- 
sociations are connected with the descrip- 
tions contained in your favourite authors, 
and whose solitary musings are so often 
enlivened by the recollection of them, the 
indulgence in the pernicious habit of throw- 
ing away so valuable a portion of the day 
as the morning, carries with it an appear- 
ance of the greatest inconsistency. There 
are very few of our descriptive poets who 
have not given us some of the most pleas- 
ing proofs of the excellence of their 
compositions, in their pictures of morn- 
ing scenery : indeed this season possesses 
something that is really and peculiarly poe- 
tical. The beauties of the unfolding land- 
scape, and the song of cheerfulness which 
echoes through the woods, are themes 
adapted for the exercise of the powers of 
the finest genius, and produce, without any 
effort of thought, a train of pleasing ideas, 
harmonious in themselves, and easily in- 
fused into the language which is necessary 
to express them. The morning affords 



EARLY RISING. 81 

subjects for contemplation also which are 
exclusively her own. The rising sun is the 
majestic herald who announces her ad- 
vance, and the glittering dew-drops are 
the gems which deck her vesture. The 
" lyric lark" ascends to hymn her praise, 
whilst a thousand warblers conspire to 
swell the chorus of the anthem. The sons 
of labour greet her approach with pleasure, 
and the glow of health, which animates 
their countenances, serves as her silent 
panegyrist; whilst all that strength and 
vigour of body can bestow, and cheerful- 
ness of mind can impart, add their willing 
tribute to her genial influence. 

Before I conclude this letter I will 
recal to your remembrance (as I do not 
suppose that any of them are new to you) 
some of our poets' descriptions of the 
beauties of morning. The rising sun has 
ever been a favourite theme with them, 
and they have done ample justice to the 
dignity and majesty of the object de- 
scribed. 



82 LETTERS ON 

But yonder comes the powerful king of day, 

Rejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud, 

The kindling azure, and the mountain's brow 

Illum'd with fluid gold, his near approach 

Betoken glad. Lo ; now, apparent all, 

Aslant the dew-bright earth, and coloured air, 

He looks in boundless majesty abroad, 

And sheds the shining day, that burnish'd plays, 

On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering streams. 

High gleaming from afar. 

THO.MSOX. 

But see, the flush'd horizon flames intense 

With vivid red, in rich profusion streamed 

O'er heaven's pure arch. At once the clouds assume 

Their gayest liveries ; these with silvery beams 

Fringed lovely ; splendid those in liquid gold : 

And speak their sov'reign's state. He comes, behold : 

Fountain of light and colour, warmth and life ! 

The king of glory ! round his head divine, 

Diffusive showers of radiance circling flow, 

As o'er the Indian wave uprising fair 

He looks abroad on Nature, and invests, 

Where'er his universal eye surveys, 

Her ample bosom, earth, air, sea, and sky, 

In one bright robe, with heavenly tinctures gay. 

MALLET. 

Dew is such a beautiful object, that 
the poets have introduced it into some of 
their most interesting descriptions of morn- 



EARLY RISING. 83 

ing, with a very happy effect : and Job, in 
his sublime description of the majesty of 
the Creator, has referred to the peculiar 
importance of this prolific source of fer- 
tility, when he represents the Lord as an- 
swering out of the whirlwind, and inquiring 
" who hath begotten the drops of the 



Milton has several striking allusions to 
the dews. 

Now morn her rosy steps in th' eastern clime 
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearL 

An anonymous poet has alluded to them 
with a peculiar felicity in the following 
passage. 

With starry splendour on the hawthorn bough, 
And graceful wild-rose, shines the copious dew, 
That precious lymph of nature, which dilates 
The ruby lip of every infant bud, 
And lavish on the level turf remains 
In silver beauty. 

Milton has introduced this into two 
similes, equally apt, and equally pleasing. 

* Job, xxxviii. 28. 



84 LETTERS ON 

In describing the number of the host of 
Satan: 

An host, 

Innumerable as the stars of night, 
Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun, 
Impearls on every leaf and every flower. 

The silence of Dalilah on visiting her 
sightless husband, is thus expressed. 

Yet on she moves, now stands, and eyes thee fixed, 
About t' have spoke ; but now, with head declined, 
Lake a fair flower surcharg'd with dew, she weeps, 
And words address 'd seem into tears dissolved, 
Wetting the borders of her silken veil. 

Thomson's description of the gradual 
advance of morning possesses all the cha- 
racteristic beauties of that interesting poet. 

And now observant of approaching day, 

The meek-ey'd morn appears, mother of dews, 

At first faint gleaming in the dappled east ; 

Till far o'er ether spreads the widening glow ; 

And, from before the lustre of her face, 

White break the clouds away. With quickened step, 

Brown night retires : young day pours in apace, 

And opens all the lawny prospect wide. 

The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top 

Swell on the sight, and brighten with the dawn. 



EARLY RISING. 8j 

Blue, through the dusk, the smoaking currents shine ; 

And from the bladed field the fearful hare 

Limps, awkward j while along the forest-glade 

The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze 

At early passenger. Music awakes 

The native voice of undissembled joy : 

And thick around the woodland, hymns arise. 

THOMSON. 

I must not omit Beattie's " melodies of 
morn ;" and though the third stanza is not 
exactly in the situation in which the elegant 
writer of the Minstrel has placed it, yet it 
concludes with so powerful an appeal, and 
unanswerable a question, that I do not 
know a better place for it. 

But who the melodies of morn can tell? 
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side ; 
The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell; 
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried 
In the lone valley ; echoing far and wide 
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above ; 
The hollow murmur of the ocean -tide ; 
The hum of bees, and linnet's lay of love, 
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove. 

The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark ; 
Crown'd with her pail the tripping milk-maid sings ; 
The whistling ploughman stalks afield ; and hark ! 
Down the rough slope the ponderous waggon rings j 



86 LETTERS ON 

Through rustling corn the hare astonish'd springs; 
Slow tolls the village clock the drowsy hour ; 
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings; 
Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower, 
And shrill lark carols clear from her aerial tour. 

Ob ! how canst thou renounce the boundless store 
Of charms which nature to her votary yields ? 
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore, 
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields; 
All that the genial ray of morning gilds, 
And all that echoes to the song of even, 
All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields, 
And all the dread magnificence of heaven, 
Oh ! how canst thou renounce, and hope to be forgiven ? 

Nor have our poets confined their de- 
scriptions to a mere relation of the beauties 
of morning scenery ; they have endeavour- 
ed to persuade their readers to experience 
them, and have expostulated with them on 
the criminal indulgence, which, from the 
loss of real pleasure that it occasions, 
might, perhaps, be more properly styled, 
however paradoxical it may sound, criminal 
self-denial. 

Falsely luxurious, will not man awake ; 
And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy 



EARLY RISING. 87 

The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour, 

To meditation due, and sacred song ? 

For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise ? 

To lie in dead oblivion, losing half 

The fleeting moments of too short a life ; 

Total extinction of th' enlighten'd soul ! 

Or else to feverish vanity alive, 

Wildered, and tossing through distemper'd dreams. 

Who would in such a gloomy state remain 

Longer than nature craves; when every muse 

And every blooming pleasure wait without, 

To bless the wildly devious morning walk ? 

THOMSON'S SUMMER. 

Do you recollect these lines of Her- 
rick's ? If some parts are rather homely, 
you must attribute it to the debasing nature 
of th,e conduct he is reprobating. 

Get up : get up, for shame ! the blooming morn 
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn ; 

See how Aurora throws her fair 

Fresh quilted colours through the air. 

Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see 

The dew-bespangling herb and tree, 
Each flow'r has wept, and bow'd toward the east, 
Above an hour since, and yet you are not drest, 

Nay, not so much as out of bed, 

When all the birds have rnatius said 

And sung their thankfnl hymns 'tis sin, 

Nay, profanation to keep in ! 



88 LETTERS ON 

But I will conclude these quotations 
with one piece of advice, and I can only 
say do follow it. 

" Rise before the sun, 
Then make a breakfast of the morning dew, 
Served up by nature on some grassy hill, 
You'll find it nectar." 

Yours, &c. 



EARLY RISING. 



LETTER IX. 

To the same. 

MY 1>EAR CHARLOTTE, 

IN writing to you upon the beau- 
ties of those scenes which the morning pre- 
sents, and in endeavouring to render that 
" sweet hour of prime " a part of the day 
in which you shall feel the greatest interest, 
and experience the highest satisfaction; it 
serves as a great addition to the pleasure 
which I should have otherwise felt, that I 
am not obliged to stop at the point which 
I have already reached, lest, if I went be- 
yond it, you would no longer be able to 
sympathize in my feelings, or be willing to 
coincide with my sentiments. Nature at 
all times affords a pleasing subject for de- 
scription, and, connected with those delicate 
susceptibilities of mind which it frequently 
excites, it cannot fail to produce a very 
peculiar interest in the man who is pos- 



90 LETTERS ON 

sessed of a refined taste, and whose habits 
have been favourable for literary acquire- 
ments. But if we can go no further than 
this, though we may arrogate to ourselves 
the title of philosophers, we shall have 
no claim to the nobler and more distin- 
guished appellation of Christians. There 
are very few who do not feel some peculiar 
sensations of pleasure whilst contemplating 
the beauties of nature in the morning. The 
whole of its scenery is calculated to inspire 
them, and the exhilarated state of the spirits, 
and the liveliness both of the mental and 
corporeal faculties, produce that self-com- 
placency and internal satisfaction, which 
would render inferior charms, and less 
powerful attractions, capable of exciting 
admiration and securing regard. The 
dawning of day, and the gradual dissipa- 
tion of the clouds; the rising of the sun, 
and the reflection of his beams upon the 
summits of the hills ; the spangled dew, 
and the harmony of the feathered choir, 
regale the senses, and invite the beholder 
to join with all around him in hailing the 



EARLY RISING. 91 

return of another day. But the Christian 
finds in these objects a source of pleasure 
and of joy, which a stranger to his feelings 
cannot experience. He beholds the power 
and the goodness of his " Father who is in 
heaven," displayed in all his footsteps upon 
the earth ; 

He sees with other eyes than theirs : where they 

Discern a sun, he spies a Deity ; 

What makes another smile, makes him adore. 

YOUNG. 

It is not till we have discovered the mu- 
nificence and the greatness of the Deity ex- 
emplified in the noblest of all his works, the 
work of redemption, and have been enabled 
by faith in the Son of God to feel a personal 
and individual interest in that wonderful 
display of his compassion, that we can de- 
rive from the less magnificent wonders of 
creation the purest pleasures, and the high- 
est gratifications which they are capable of 
affording. The principle which converting 
grace infuses into the mind, runs through 
every thought, and gives a new current to 
the feelings and the passions. The real 



9* 

Christian, who is living up to the exalted 
privileges which he is permitted to enjoy, 
and leading a life of consistency with his 
Master's will, tinds a fresh source of love, 
and a new spring of gratitude in every thing 
that surrounds him. Possessed of that spi- 
rituality of mind which is " life and peace," 
he no longer looks upon the extended pros- 
pects which expand before him, and the 
numerous minuter beauties which present 
themselves on every side, with the eye of 
curiosity, or mere sensitive pleasure ; he no 
longer praises the landscape, while he for- 
gets " its Author;" but he discerns the great 
and eternal Maker of all worlds in every 
object that claims and obtains his admira- 
tion ; he sees 

" The unambiguous footsteps of the god, 
Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing, 
And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds." 

And remember, my dear Charlotte, that of 
all the portions of the day, the morning is 
the best adapted to excite those peculiar 
feelings, and to call into exercise those 



EARLY RISING. 93 

emotions, which characterize the Christian'* 
contemplation of the beauties of nature. 
Permit me to remind you of the train of 
ideas to which it may lead, and a few of 
the peculiar reflections which it is calcu- 
lated to suggest. 

View the sun, the glorious orb of day, 
rising in all his splendour, and rejoicing like 
" the strong man" " to run" his daily and 
appointed " race." See how the shades 
of midnight have fled at his approach, 
and the clouds that hovered over the 
eastern horizon have vanished before his 
power. And will not this noblest object 
of the visible creation remind you of " the 
Chief among ten thousand, the altogether 
lovely ? " Of the Sun of Righteousness," 
who, to them who " fear the name" of 
the Lord, shall u arise with healing on 
his wings?"* What a beautiful and pe- 
culiarly applicable emblem of the Saviour 
does the sun afford. His gracious influ- 
ences, shed upon the mind, have scattered 
the mists of ignorance which so long had 
veiled it ; have exhibited the native defor- 
.Mai. iv. 5. 



9i LETTERS ON 

mity of sin, and the beauty of holiness ; 
have unfolded the perfections of Deity, and 
illumined the road that leads to their en- 
joyment ; have dispersed the clouds that 
seemetl to invest a just and righteous God 
with frowns, and array him with all the awe 
of inaccessible majesty and inflexible jus- 
tice, and have declared " that he is love." 
His revelation, whereby " through the ten- 
der mercy of our God, the day-spring from 
on high hath visited us; to give light to 
them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow 
of death : to guide our feet into the way of 
peace "* his revelation permits us to 
contemplate, with the eye of faith, the 
noon-day " brightness of the Father's glory, 
and the express image of his person" f 
" in the face of his anointed ;" it points out 
to us the path that leads to happiness and 
heaven : which, whilst it shews the world 
to be a \vildtrness, and its promised plea- 
sures thorns, guides and directs the wearied 
traveller to his home ; and as the light of 
the reconciled countenance of their God is 
lifted upon his people, it dispels their 
Luke, i. 78, 79. t Heb. i. 3. 



EARLY RISING. 95 

doubts, and animates their hopes; bright- 
ens their prospects, and invigorates their 
strength ; cheers their hearts, and consoles 
their minds; reveals the riches of his ful- 
ness, and the bounties of his grace; the 
faithfulness of his promises, and the im- 
mutability of his word ; the strength of his 
arm, and his willingness to exert it; the 
exhaustless treasures of his wisdom, and the 
boundless extent of his love. 

But the beauty of morning is very much 
increased by the drops of dew which are 
hanging from every blade of grass, and are 
reflecting the rays of the sun in a thousand 
different directions. Not a sound has been 
heard nor a leaf been moved, whilst the 
secret operation has been advancing : and 
what a pleasing emblem does this afford of 
the influences of the Holy Spirit. How 
mild, how gentle, how imperceptible have 
its effusions often been upon our minds ! 
What a train of heavenly thoughts has it 
inspired, whilst we have scarcely known 
how to account for their existence: what 
an unruffled calm has it produced, and how 
has it spoken peace to the troubled con- 



96 LETTERS ON 

science, when a thousand worldly cares 
and anxieties were raising a tumult in our 
breasts But these gems which thus adorn 
the smiling landscape, are not merely de- 
signed to add to the transient loveliness 
of the scene; they tend to perpetuate its 
beauty by deepening the verdure of the 
fields, and heightening the blooming tints, 
and increasing the fragrant odours of the 
flowers on which they hang. And may \ve 
not trace a similarity between these effects, 
and the sanctifying influences of the spirit 
of truth ? Are they not instrumental in re- 
freshing and invigorating all the graces of 
the Christian character ? in maturing the 
fruits of holiness ? Do they not so impress 
upon our minds, and enforce upon our con- 
sciences, the great and important truths of 
the Bible, that they are made so intrin- 
sically a part of our moral and intellectual 
constitutions, as to prove by the effects 
which they produce in our lives and con- 
duct, that they are become essential and 
vital principles ? Do they not prevent the 
doctrines we have embraced, and the creed 
we have professed, from losing their ef- 



EARLY RISING. 97 

ficacy for want of a motive for action, or a 
stimulus to exertion ? And amidst all the 
different shades of character, and the diver- 
sity of talent with which we are surrounded, 
do they not influence each according to his 
particular requirements, and whilst the 
means are the same, produce effects equally 
pleasing and beneficial by reason of their 
variety ? 

But will my dear Charlotte here suggest 
the painful doubt which has so often dis- 
turbed her peace ? Will she heave the dis- 
trustful sigh, and tell me now, as she has 
sometimes done before, that reflections such 
as these may occupy the mind and animate 
the hopes of the real disciple of the Son of 
God ; but that she has no claim to this 
high character, that she cannot feel this in- 
dividual relationship, that she knows no- 
thing of that filial appropriation which 
exclaims in the " spirit of adoption," 
Abba, Father?" Will she tell me that 
she has never yet discovered the evidence 
of her faith, has never yet been able to recur 
to the time when the effectual operations 
F 



98 LETTERS ON 

of the Holy Spirit have descended upon her 
soul, \vhilst " the dew of her birth" was> 
" of the womb of the morning ?" Permit 
me, my dear girl, in whose happiness I feel 
no common interest, and for the increase of 
whose peace of mind I would offer up my 
unceasing prayers, permit me to make one 
more allusion to the spiritual application of 
the lovely scenery of morning. Darkness 
has long maintained its empire, and thrown 
a veil of obscurity over the undistinguish- 
able beauties of creation, but day-break is 
at hand. The grey and dusky tints which 
mark the eastern boundary of vision, foretel 
some important change; a lighter streak 
succeeds, and the twilight advances, but 
still the night appears unwilling to resign 
her dominion. A blush of deeper hue has 
suffused itself over the sky ; the clouds are 
breaking rapidly away; and the western 
hills are tipped with a lustre that proclaims 
the approach of the great luminary of day. 
His effects are visible before his glories are 
revealed ; till at length he darts his beams 
across the valley and the plain, and a thou- 



EARLY RISING. 99 

sand voices welcome his appearance. The 
admiring spectator, who had groped in the 
obscurity, and shivered in the cold of night, 
though he may not have been able to mark 
the gradual steps by which light and warmth 
have advanced, yet he can recur to his dis- 
tress, and say it was night ; he can rejoice 
in the change, and say it is day. And can- 
not you, mydear Charlotte, recur to the hour 
of nature's darkness ? Cannot you recollect 
a time when you neither saw, nor wished 
to see " the Sun of Righteousness ?" And 
cannot you also remember when you longed 
for the " day-spring from on high ?" when 
you rejoiced in its cheering influence? 
And do you not now desire the blessings 
and the joys which light alone can afford ? 
Though the morning may have been over- 
cast with clouds, have you never seen the 
source of your spiritual life breaking through 
them with some cheering rays, which have 
convinced you that " to them that believe 
he is precious ?" Seek not, my dear girl, 
either for your evidences or your happiness 



100 LETTERS ON 

in past convictions. Does the man who 
walks in the light of day, ever pause lest he 
should have been mistaken, or ask if the 
sun be really risen ? Does he seek for fur- 
ther proof than the demonstrations around 
him; the splendours that illumine, the heat 
that warms, the influence that cheers ? Per- 
haps he cannot fix his eye with the eagle's 
gaze upon the glowing orb, but the weak- 
ness of his vision does not shake the firm- 
ness of his convictions. Ask yourself, my 
dear girl, these questions. Do I now feel 
myself lost, without a redeeming Saviour? 
Am I convinced that the malady of sin is 
incurable without a physician of value ? 
Have I fled, and do I daily flee for refuge, 
to lay hold on the hope which is set before 
me in the Gospel f Is Christ all in all ? 
Am I fixing my trust upon one who is 
" mighty to save?" Press forward in the 
divine life ; let every doubt add earnestness 
to the prayer, " Lord, help my unbelief :" 
run the race which is set before you in the 
Gospel : and may your path, " the path ot" 



EARLY RISING. 101 

the just," be like that of the sun, which not 
only beautifies with his beams the hours of 
morning, but " shines more and more unto 
the perfect day." 

Yours, with sincere affection. 



LETTERS OTf 



LETTER X. 

To Mr. Charles G. 

MY DEAR CHARLES, 

THIS scrawl from one who sin- 
cerely loves you, and feels a very lively 
interest in your welfare, will, I suppose, 
find you surrounded with your volumes of 
legal lore ; the quaint but pithy Coke ; the 
profound Lyttelton ; or the elegant Black- 
stone : and though its perusal may a little 
interrupt the train of thought which your 
more important studies may have induced, 
yet, if I am not very much mistaken in the 
opinion 1 have formed of my young friend, 
he will be willing to indulge in a few minutes 
relaxation, and after the fatigues of an assi- 
duous attention to his profession, cheerfully 
refresh his mind with the communications 
of his friend, and readily recline on the lan- 
guage of affection as the pillow of his repose. 
Though many circumstances have con- 
spired to prevent my earlier assurance of 
the continuance of my regard for you, and 



EARLY RISING. 103 

have compelled me to postpone a compli- 
ance with your request that I would occa- 
sionally transmit to you such observations, 
and give you such advice, as my more ad- 
vanced years and greater experience ought 
to afford me ; yet the delay in the fulfilment 
of my promise is to be attributed to any 
thing rather than to the want of a sufficient 
interest, either in the employment itself, or 
in the welfare of him for whose benefit it is 
designed. If I ever feel a more than or- 
dinary degree of pleasure in any occupation 
that engages my attention, it is when I am 
exerting myself for the advantage of the 
young, the ardour of whose passions has 
not yet been cooled, and the exercise of 
whose reason has not yet been confirmed 
by the experience of age. But to you, my 
dear son, (for paternal solicitude may war- 
rant the language of adoption, (I feel myself 
united by a firmer tie, and more lasting 
bond, than the mere interest which youth 
can excite in the bosom of age. We are, 
I trust, fellow sojourners 4n .the same wil- 
derness, fellow travellers in the same hea- 
venly road, fellow-seekers of the same home, 



10* LETTERS ON 

citizens of one commonwealth, and members 
of one household. The toils that we endure 
are similar, the rest that we seek is the 
same. And did I need an inducement to 
stimulate me in an employment which is 
always grateful, the apostolic injunction, 
" to bear one another's burdens," would 
convince me that it was my duty, where 
my power would enable me, at least to 
point out the way by which another's bur- 
den could be removed, or the pressure of 
its weight alleviated. 

You have often expressed your regret 
to me, that so large a portion of time in the 
earlier period of your life, should have been 
suffered to elapse, without applying your 
mind, and directing your studies to those 
subjects which would have tended to your 
ultimate benefit. You have often recurred 
to periods in your life, the recollection of 
whose misiinprovement, has caused an ex- 
pression of dissatisfaction ; and have mourn- 
ed over the deficiency of your advancement, 
which you have considered so little ade- 
quate to the advantages you have enjoyed ; 
and this feeling, operating upon your mind, 



EARLY RISING. 105 

has not wasted itself in unavailing remorse, 
serving only to cast a shade of melancholy 
over every surrounding object, and to 
invest with a dark and sombre hue every 
occupation which might gradually have 
removed its cause. But it has had a 
much more salutary effect. You have 
proved your repentance for the neglect of 
past opportunities to be sincere, by em- 
bracing the present with greater assiduity 
and redoubled diligence. Indeed, my cau- 
tions here must be directed against the op- 
posite extreme. Arrived at an age when you 
are peculiarly sensible of the value of know- 
ledge ; when the discipline of the school or 
the college no longer gives the appearance of 
a laborious task, to what you now feel to be 
an agreeable duty ; when the sterner charac- 
teristics of manhood add a new impulse to 
your energies, and render them more effectual 
by making them more permanent ; when the 
daily accession of information only serves 
as a new stimulus to incite to further ac- 
quisitions ; and when your future prospects 
in life begin to expand before you, and lead 
you to see the practical application and 
F 5 



106 LETTERS ON 

actual value of every new discovery that is 
made, and of every page that is perused ; 
under such circumstances, and influenced 
by such principles as these, you need no 
additional motives to animate your zeal, no 
new excitements to increase your thirst for 
knowledge. Indeed, I fear that those hours 
which ought to have been devoted to sleep, 
are often spent in the studious research 
which might enrich your mind and reward 
your toil if made by day, but which tends 
to undermine both your corporeal and men- 
tal powers, to debilitate both your intel- 
lectual and bodily vigour, when pursued by 
night. And I know that those hours which 
ought not to have been devoted to sleep, 
have been surrendered to it, to compensate 
for the nocturnal inroads which your lucu- 
brations had been making. 

If there were any one piece of advice 
which I would more frequently repeat than 
another ; if there were any one caution 
which I would endeavour to impress upon 
you with all the earnestness that sincerity 
of affection and personal experience could 
dictate ; if there were any one warning 



EARLY RISING. 

which I would accompany with more than 
ordinary entreaty, and urge with more than 
my accustomed seriousness, it would be 
avoid night studies. It is to this, in a very 
great measure, that we are to attribute that 
long and lamentable train of maladies to 
which the student is subject. A young 
man who has received the advantages of a 
liberal and classical education ; who is ar- 
dent in the pursuit of knowledge ; who feels 
some of his most pleasing mental associa- 
tions to be connected with his literary em- 
ployments ; whose vanity has been cherish- 
ed by the seducing praises of injudicious 
friends ; who is the subject of those peculiar 
susceptibilities which accompany the first 
developement of genius ; and whose intel- 
lectual attainments have induced a degree of 
conscious superiority, which nothing but 
the humbling doctrines of Christianity can 
subdue ; such a young man is, of all others, 
the most sensible of those distressing emo- 
tions which wounded pride occasions, and 
is exposed to a thousand snares and temp- 
tations which others escape. And nothing 
tends to increase this mental irascibility, 



108 LETTERS ON 

this nervous irritation, so much as an en- 
feebled constitution. The connection be- 
tween body and mind is so intimate, and 
their sympathy so great, that many a re- 
sponsive melancholy note thrills through 
the latter, which was first struck upon some 
disordered chord of the former. Whatever 
you do, my dear Charles, trifle not with 
your health, as you know not how it may 
eventually affect your intellectual powers. 
You may think the caution unnecessary, 
but I could refer you to a period in my 
own experience, I could describe to you a 
state of mental agony, bordering on that 
awful condition, 

" Which, of all maladies that men infest, 
Claims most compassion, and obtains the least ;" 

and I do not hesitate to attribute it, very 
considerably, if not principally, to a state of 
physical derangement proceeding from too 
severe an application to books, and still 
more immediately resulting from night 
studies. But I will not describe my own 
feelings in order to alarm you. I will only 
remind you of one, over whose sorrows we 
have together wept, and whose memory 



EARtY RISING. 



has been enshrined in both our hearts ; 
whose tender frame could ill endure the 
blasts of opposition to which it was ex- 
posed, and whose delicate mind shrunk 
from the cruel scrutiny which wantonly 
trifled with the fruit of its attainments; 
whose imagination soared in its ideal flights 
into regions where there was no critic to 
lash, no censor to condemn ; but whose 
reason could not sustain the assaults, and 
whose courage could not grapple with the 
conflicts to which we are daily exposed in 
the path of real life and actual experience; 
who seemed too tender and too delicate a 
plant for earth, and was soon removed to a 
more congenial soil, and a more propitious 
climate. The very mention of the name of 
Henry Kirke White, whilst it includes all 
that is amiable in disposition, delicate in 
sentiment, elegant in taste, and exalted in 
genius, should serve as a friendly monitor 
to those who are seeking honours in a simi- 
lar track ; and should whisper the caution, 
to avoid the dangerous course which ruined 
his health, and shook the nobler fabric of 
his mind. 



110 LETTERS ON 

Will you urge in reply, that to the man 
who has time to expatiate over the whole 
extent of general literature, who is a mere 
virtuoso in intellectual pursuits, who can 
exchange the reasonings of philosophy for 
the more attractive fascinations of poetry 
or of fiction, who can quit the minute re- 
searches of judgment for the extended 
flights and airy visions of imagination, with- 
out acting inconsistently with his duty, or 
interfering with necessary and indispensible 
engagements, that to such a man my ad- 
vice might be applicable ; but, that to one 
whose daily avocations require the practical 
application of his nocturnal acquisitions of 
knowledge, and whose active life leaves no 
leisure hour in which to provide for the 
emergencies of the next, the recommenda- 
tion to relinquish the opportunities which 
night affords of advancing his professional 
attainments, would be to surrender all 
hopes of present credit or of future emi- 
nence? Let me ask you, have you never 
thought that the same portion of time in 
the morning, before the business of the day 
has commenced, is at least equally valu- 



EARLY RISING. Ill 

able as that at night, after the body has 
been exhausted by fatigue, and the mind 
wearied by exertion ? Has it never occur- 
red to you, that there are many peculiar 
advantages attached to such an employment 
of the early part of the day, arising from its 
adaptation to mental pursuits, and its in- 
vigorating effects upon the corporeal powers ? 
If you have never reflected on this, let me 
intreat you to give it the consideration 
which it demands ; and if you have some- 
times speculated upon its probable correct- 
ness, let me persuade you to experience its 
practical truth. 

I am well aware of the delusive view 
which a young man is apt to take of this 
subject. He has been accustomed to as- 
sociate in his mind the idea of great ad- 
vancement in knowledge, or superior emi- 
nence in his professional application, with 
that of midnight study. The very terms 
which are often employed to designate those 
works which he has regarded as the labours 
of men of the highest attainments and great- 
est abilities, have served to confirm this 
impression. He has read of the "Annorum 



112 LETTERS ON 

viginti Lucubraticnes" of the lawyer; the 
erudite productions and finished composi- 
tions of a celebrated author have been 
characterized as "smelling of the lamp;" 
and the works to which he has attached the 
confidence of authority, and on which he 
has looked as the standards of correctness, 
have been pronounced to bear the marks of 
midnight research ; and whilst he has been 
desirous both to derive the information 
which they convey, and to emulate the as- 
siduity and possess tlie knowledge of their 
authors, he considers that the only method 
is to follow their example, and to tread in 
their steps. But let me ask you, my dear 
Charles, if this is not, after all, a mere de- 
ception? Have we not had repeated in- 
stances of men of the greatest learning and 
most solid acquirements, who are indebted 
for them to the morning rather than to the 
night? And does not this season afford 
epithets much more in unison with your 
feelings, and more grateful to your mind, 
than the shades of darkness ? Will you be- 
lieve the feeble glimmerings of the lamp, 
whose light is conveyed in fitful flashes, to 



EARLY RISING. 113 

be so influential upon the thinking faculties, 
so auxiliary to the intellectual powers, as 
the pure, unwavering blaze of the orb of 
day ? Would you rather your compositions 
.should be scented with the odours of its 
oil, than breathe the freshness, and impart 
the fragrance of the morn ? Would you 
prefer the intended compliment of a com- 
panion to the owl, to the more pleasing 
comparison with the lark ? However you 
may feel about the matter, my dear fellow, 
let me tell you that you shall have the 
blinkings and the blindness, the screechings 
and the squallings of the former ; if J can 
enjoy the liveliness and the loftiness, the 
melody and the music of the latter. 

But let me assure you, my dear Charles, 
that I am much more inclined to be serious 
than jocose, and that I feel so strongly the 
importance of what I have been writing, 
that I shall not be satisfied till I have reason 
to believe that you have been convinced of 
its propriety, and have acted up to your con- 
victions. Even supposing for a moment 
(though it is what I can never allow,) that 
there is not that power of close application 



114 LETTERS ON 

to study in the morning that the evening 
affords, yet you cannot deny the different 
effects which they are calculated to produce 
upon the health, and eventually upon the 
mental faculties. And is the advancement 
in intellectual improvement of such exclu- 
sive importance ? is the cultivation of the 
mind of such paramount consequence ? 
Remember, my dear Charles, that a pro- 
gressive knowledge of divine things, a 
growth in grace, an increasingly useful em- 
ployment of talents, and a more correct 
standard of moral excellence, should be the 
supreme objects of your regard. If you 
were wholly to devote your time to literary 
pursuits ; if you could acquire all that as- 
siduity could bestow or perseverance effecf ; 
if you could ascend the highest eminence 
which genius had ever reached, and com- 
mand a greater extent of view than the 
most exalted mind has yet enjoyed ; if you 
could cast your eye over the spacious field 
which expanded beneath you, and behold 
from your "speculative height" a prospect 
that was only bounded by the inequality of 
your vision ; you would be led to confess 



EARLY RISING. 



that your pre-eminence afforded no rational 
ground for self-importance ; or, if you were 
too proud to make such an avowal, we 
should soon be convinced of its truth. But 
the Scriptures hold out to you a nobler 
object of acquisition, an object worthy of 
your most earnest endeavours, and calcu- 
lated to reward your most diligent exertions. 
There are summits of greater elevation, 
sublimer heights which afford more exten- 
sive views. The perfection which the 
Christian is exhorted to attain, will present 
a constant object for your emulation ; and 
whilst there is no promise contained in the 
word of truth to cheer us in our mental pur- 
suits or intellectual labours, when confined 
to the narrow limits of our present exist- 
ence, there is every thing to animate our 
zeal and invigorate our strength in our pro- 
gress in the divine life; and, at the same 
time, the Holy Spirit is promised to those 
who ask it, by Him through whom it flows, 
on whom it was bestowed without measure, 
and in whom " all fulness dwells." 

Yours, very affectionately. 



116 LETTERS OX 

LETTER XI. 

To the same. 

AND do you still, my dear Charles, 
really fear that if you follow my advice, 
and devote the early hours of morning to 
study, that you shall not gain any thing in 
point of intellectual advantage ; or rather, 
that you shall not be so well able to attend 
to your professional researches then, as at 
night? Let me only beg your candid atten- 
tion to a few of the arguments which may 
with propriety be urged on my side of the 
question, reminding you at the same time* 
if you should be inclined to consider my 
opinions as merely speculative, that I might 
not only adduce my own actual experience, 
but that I could refer you to a long and 
luminous train of literati, whose example 
should inspire your emulation, and whose 
learning should remove every doubt from 
your mind. 



EARLY RISING. 117 

You cannot hesitate to admit what I 
have before alluded to the intimate con- 
nexion that exists between the body and 
the mind, and how much the strength and 
energies of the latter depend upon the 
vigour and health of the former. Their 
union is so strict, thatthey alternately impede 
or assist, excite or depress, stimulate or as- 
suage each other. And when, is it natural to 
suppose, that the body is the most likely 
to afford that co-operation with the mind 
which it requires? Will it not be when its 
members are the least discomposed by fa- 
tigue ; when its power has been the least 
weakened by exertion ; when the strength 
has been augmented by the refreshment of 
rest, and when its functions are discharged 
with the greatest ease, and the least per_ 
ceptible constraint ? And is not this pre- 
cisely the case in the early part of the 
morning ? It is then that the corporeal 
faculties seem ready to obey the intellec- 
tual; that mind exerts a sovereignty, and 
maintains a superiority that is peculiarly 
favourable for the promotion of its opera- 
tions ; and that every nerve and muscle 



118 LE1TERS ON 

com blue to give an elasticity to thought, 
and a sprightliness to genius, which no 
other portion of the day affords. 

Another advantage, and I am inclined 
to consider it a very important one, is, the 
cheerfulness of disposition which is gene- 
rally experienced in the morning. The 
temper has not yet been ruffled by the op- 
position that the business of the day occa- 
sions ; the inclination has not been thwarted 
by the obstinacy or the ignorance of those 
who ought to have complied with it; the 
will has not been denied what it \\ as anxious 
to obtain : but the pleasure resulting from 
the conquest of self, and sensual indul- 
gence, produces a complacency of feeling, 
which invests every object in the most 
agreeable colours, and lessens the difficul- 
ties which would at any other period have 
assumed a formidable aspect. I need not 
impress upon you the importance of this 
state of mind, and its absolute necessity if 
we \vish to study to real advantage and last- 
ing benefit. There is not a greater enemy 
to literary pursuits than discontent. It 
draws a deceitful veil before our fairest pros- 



EAIUY RISING. 119 

pects ; it insinuates that our present em- 
ployments will not promote our future in- 
terests, but that some other occupation 
would better advance them, and that a dif- 
ferent course of study would lead us by a 
shorter and more flowery road to the object 
of our ambition. It depresses the animal 
spirits, weakens the very springs of action, 
undermines the whole fabric we had en- 
deavoured to erect, annihilates hope, and 
sweeps away the resolutions which it had 
cost us months to mature, and deprives us 
of the benefits of their adoption, just as we 
were beginning to put them into execu- 
tion. 

Perhaps, however, I cannot urge a 
stronger or a more available argument in 
support of my position, than the well-attested 
fact, of the extraordinary power which me- 
mory exerts in the morning. You can recol- 
lect the time M'hen your school-boy task was 
read the last thing at night, and was perfectly 
learnt by one or two repetitions in the 
morning. And you have, no doubt, in 
later periods, often endeavoured at night, 
with earnest but fruitless care, to recollect 



120 LETTERS ON 

some particular authority, to recal some 
apposite case, or to strengthen your own 
opinion by the dictum of some learned 
lawyer, which you have formerly met with ; 
but you have been obliged to relinquish 
your object, completely foiled and disap- 
pointed : when on the succeeding morning 
without a mental effort, the wished-for 
passage, or the name of the desired author 
has suddenly flashed across your mind, and 
afforded you the assistance you required. 
Many persons have mentioned to me similar 
instances of the strength of their memories 
in the morning, alluding to them merely as 
curious facts, without either resolving to 
derive any advantage from the habitual use 
of so favourable a period, or endeavouring 
to explain a phenomenon, the existence of 
which they were ready to acknowledge. 
You may, perhaps, be better able to do the 
latter than myself; but whether you succeed 
in this or not, you have it in your power to 
enjoy all the benefits which can result from 
the former. Surely that time is the most 
favourable for study, in which recollection 
exerts its full and uninterrupted force. Nor 



EAHIA RISING. 



is it merely instrumental in recalling at plea- 
sure past acquisitions of knowledge ; it im- 
presses upon the understanding, and infixes 
in the memory, the facts and the truths 
which you are then attending to ; and adds 
to that store of information from which you 
are to draw your future supplies, and to 
which you are to look as the source of your 
future attainments. 

It is a possible case, that you may have 
made the experiment of morning study, and 
after a first or second trial have relinquished 
it. The difficulty which you have experi- 
enced in breaking off your accustomed 
habit of lying in bed, has probably dis- 
pirited you ; and the loss of time whicli has 
been occasioned by surrendering the even- 
ing in order to gain the morning, and after 
all, losing the morning through the want of 
sufficient resolution to overcome your usual 
indulgence, has induced you to resolve to 
secure those hours which were within your 
[tower, and not to abandon the present cer- 
tainty for the morrow's probability. But, 
I must beg of you to remember, that how- 
ever plainly this may prove your irresolu- 



122 LETTERS ON 

tion, and however great a reflection it may 
cast on your courage and decision, it does 
not in any way invalidate my arguments ; 
nor can I suffer any thing that you can urge 
of a speculative nature to alter my opinion 
so long as I can refer to my own experi- 
ence, and to that of those celebrated au- 
thors, who, if living, could not only employ 
a power of persuasion and a force of rea- 
soning on this subject, superior to any thing 
I can hope to possess, but who, though 
dead, still speak in the mementoes of their 
greatness which they have left for posterity ; 
evincing at once the value of that time 
which they devoted to their composition, 
the admirable manner in which it was em- 
ployed, and its peculiar suitableness for the 
profitable employments to which it was 
applied. 

Has the recollection of some learned 
writer, some erudite scholar, or some pro- 
found lawyer, to whom you have been ac- 
customed to look with reverence, and who 
was indebted for his proficiency to the quiet 
hours of night, seduced you into the adop- 
tion of his practice, and led you to follow 



EARLY RISING. 123 

his example ? But do you remember, that 
though he has left for your improvement 
the result of his diligence, he has not com- 
municated to you the anxiety of mind and 
the debility of body which it produced? 
That though you can trace the workings of 
his cultivated and well-stored intellect, and 
reap the benefits of its arduous labours, you 
cannot mark the nervous irritability that agi- 
tated his frame, and the melancholy forebod- 
ings which sometimes clouded his despond- 
ing imagination ? That though you can still 
contemplate with rapture the bright corus- 
cations of eloquence that flashed from his 
pen, you cannot now behold with pity the 
languor of his faded eye ? That though you 
can admire the perseverance which seemed 
to bring within the compass of one short 
life, what appeared to require the extended 
duration of centuries; and though you may 
long to emulate the strength of intellect 
which could retain within its grasp the 
mighty mass of information which ages 
might have been well employed in accu- 
mulating; your sympathy cannot now be 
excited for the sacrifice of health which 



14 LETTERS ON 

had been offered, the surrender of less at- 
tractive but more endearing qualities which 
had been made, and the dark and dismal 
cloud which the studies of night had often 
thrown before his future prospects, leading 
him to doubt the correctness of the very 
principles in which you are now confiding, 
and to question the value of the sentiments 
which have become the standard of your 
judgment, and the ground of your reliance ? 
Could you but disencumber your imagina- 
tion of all the pleasing accompaniments 
with which YOU have invested your favou- 
rite author, and instead of viewing him as 
crowned with the chaplet of literary fame, 
could you dwell upon the pallid cheek 
which glowed not at the dear bought ho- 
nour, and mark the sunken eye which glist- 
ened not at the bestowment of the meed, 
the attainment of which had robbed it of its 
fire ; instead of desiring to pursue a similar 
track to obtain the same reward, you would 
be almost tempted to exclaim, 

Oh! Health, is Thought thy foe? Adieu 

Ye midnight lamps, ye curious tomes, 

Mine eye o'er hills and vallies roams, 

And deals no more with you." SHEJJSTON*. 



EARLY RISING. 125 

And will you not, my dear Charles, 
rather follow the example of those who 
have made as great a proficiency in their 
several departments of learning as your 
highest ambition could hope, or your most 
sanguine wishes could desire to attain, but 
who, at the same time, have made the least 
possible sacrifice of health ? or do you fear 
that there are no such examples ? Let me 
just remind you of a few, out of the num- 
bers that I could mention. 

Bishop Burnet, the author of " The 
History of his own Times," was an ha- 
bitual early riser. Whilst he was at college, 
his father used to arouse him to his studies 
every morning at four o'clock, and he con- 
tinued the practice during the remainder of 
his life. It is to this habit that we are in- 
debted to Dr. Doddridge for nearly the 
whole of his valuable works, who, notwith- 
standing his various labours, both as a mi- 
nister and a tutor, has left us many proofs 
of his talents as an author*. Bishop Jewell 

* Doddridge's Family Expositor. Note to Remarks. 
Rom. c. xiii. v. 13. 



126 LETTERS ON 

regularly rose to study at four. Sir Thomas 
More usually rose at the same early hour, and 
yet he remarks in his preface to the Utopia, 
that he had completed that work by stealing 
time from his sleep and his meals ; and he 
appeared to be so well satisfied of the ex- 
cellence of the habit, that he represents the 
Utopains as attending public lectures every 
morning before day-break. 

Dr. Parkhurst, the philologist rose re- 
gularly at five in summer and winter, and 
in the latter season made his own fire. It 
is recorded of John, Lord Hervey, that " in 
those early hours when all around were 
hushed in sleep, he seized the opportunity 
of that quiet as the most favourable season 
for study, and frequently spent an useful 
day before others began to enjoy it.* 

Do you not remember Paley's account 
of the early part of his college life? " I 
spent," said he, when conversing with some 
of his friends, " I spent the first two years 
of my under-graduateship happily, but un- 

* Middieton'* dedication to the Dfe of Cicero. 



EARLY KISING. 127 

profitably. I was constantly in society, 
where we were not immoral, but idle and 
rather expensive. At the commencement 
of my third year, however, after having left 
the usual party at rather a late hour in the 
evening, I was awakened at five in the 
morning by one of my companions, who 
stood at my bed-side, and said, ' Paley, 
I have been thinking what a fool you are. 
f could do nothing probably, if I were to 
try, and can afford the life I lead : you 
could do every thing, and cannot afford it. 
I have had no sleep during the whole night 
on account of these reflections, and am 
now come solemnly to inform you, that if 
you persist in your indolence, I must re- 
nounce your society.' I was so struck," 
Dr. Paley continued, " with the visit and 
the visiter, that I lay in bed great part of 
the day, and formed my plan. I ordered 
my bed-maker to lay my fire every evening, 
in order that it might be lighted by myself. 
I arose at Jive, read during the whole of 
the day, except such hours as chapel and 
hall required, allotting to each portion of 



123 LETTEKS ON 

time its peculiar branch of study : and just 
before the closing of gates (nine o'clock) 
t went to a neighbouring coffee-house, 
where I constantly regaled upon a mutton 
chop and a dose of milk punch, and then 
on taking my bachelor's degree, I became 
senior wrangler."* 

I might refer you to the opinions and 
practice of the famous Franklin, and Priest- 
ley, and many others; but you will, per- 
haps, prefer an example taken from one in 
your own profession. Sir Matthew Hale, 
that great and learned lawyer, and pious 
Christian, whilst at Lincoln's Inn preparing 
himself for the bar, studied sixteen hours 
in the day, rising very early every morning. 

Do you need classical authorities ? You 
remember our old friend Horace's " gna- 
vus mane forum," and " sub galli cantum 
consultor ubi ost ia puhat ; " t and Homer 
has told us, 



Meadle/s Memoirs of Dr. Paley, p. 194,. 5. t Hot. 
Sat. 1. 1. Sat. 1. U 10. 



EARLY RISING. 1 

And your master, Sir Edward Coke, has 
quoted with approbation, and recommended 
to his readers, the following lines from some 
ancient poet ; 

Sex boras somno, totidem des legibus sequis, 

Quatuor orabis, des Epulisque duas, 

Quod superest ultro sacris largire Camaenis.* 

Whilst you are anxious, my dear Charles, 
to rise to the summit of your profession, 
and are emulous of the talents of those 
great and learned men who have preceded 
yeu, may you pursue your studies with that 
moderation which the dictates both of rea- 
son and scripture require. May your great 
concern be, to promote the glory of God 
in whatever you do : and may you be de- 
sirous that in proportion as your knowledge 
is increased, your piety may be augmented ; 
that every fresh accession of influence may 
be employed for the advancement of the 
kingdom of Christ ; and that however high 
your attainments, or, however extended your 
learning may be, you may still sit at the 

* Co. Lit. J. 2. c. 1. b. 64. 

G 5 



130 LETTERS ON 

feet of Jesus with the meekness of a little 
child, " and count all things but loss for 
the excellency of the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus your Lord, for whom" may you be 
" willing to suffer the loss of all things, and 
count them but dung, that you may win 
Christ." 

Yours, very sincerely. 



F.AHI.Y RISING. 



LETTER XII. 

To Mrs. G. 

MY DEAR MADAM, 

I HAVE been hesitating a little as 
to which of your family I should address 
this letter, as all my correspondents to 
whoin I have been recommending the habit 
of early rising, have severally complained 
of my deficiency in one respect. They tell 
me that I have pointed out their error, and 
urged upon them respectively those reasons 
for a change in their conduct, which appear- 
ed to apply individually to them, but that I 
have not attempted to give them any direc- 
tions as to the most effectual method of ren- 
dering my advice of some avail, by enabling 
them to put it into practice. I am re-' 
solved, therefore, to endeavour to supply 
the omission, and will thank you to consider 
yourself as being not only personally in- 
terested hi the contents of this letter, but 



132 ' LETTERS ON 

also as the channel of communication to 
the rest of your family. 

You complain that you were led to 
form resolutions, which you thought very 
determined, but that after two or three 
mornings, you returned to your old habit, 
and required some new stimulus to operate 
upon you. If you have been induced but 
once to get the better of your indisposition 
to rise, you have proved that the difficulty 
was not insuperable, and that only the con- 
tinuation of the motive was wanted to pro- 
duce a perseverance in the effect: and I 
am aware of nothing so likely to procure 
the desired result, as the habitual persuasion 
of the importance of early rising itself, and 
the numerous advantages which attend it. 
Endeavour to impress your mind every 
night before you go to sleep, with the in- 
dispensable necessity of rising early on the 
following morning. Take a cursory re- 
view of all the arguments which have been, 
or may be, advanced, in favour of the prac- 
tice ; of the happy effects which it pro- 
duces ; and the pernicious consequences 



EARLY RISING. 133 

which result from a contrary line of con- 
duct. Think on the value of the smallest 
portion of time, the regret that is occasioned 
by a recollection of its loss, and the satis- 
faction that is experienced by reflections on 
its improvement : how consoling the re- 
trospect of minutes won ! how sad the re- 
membrance of moments thrown away ! 
Anticipate the feelings of a death-bed 
recurrence to the years that are past ; divest 
yourself of the carelessness of health and 
security ; and realiz^ the views of one who 
is awakened by the pangs of dissolution 
and the prospects of eternity ; recal the so- 
lemn fact to your mind, that time is a talent 
of which you must render an exact ac- 
count, and determine to spend it now, as 
you would then wish it had been spent. 
Look back upon the countless hours al- 
ready lost, and though you cannot redeem 
them, you may prove that you are not im- 
penitent, by the economical use of those 
which remain; and accustom yourself to 
meditate on the probability of your sud- 
denly exchanging misitnproved time for an 



134 LETTERS ON 

eternity which will not be too long to la- 
ment its profusion. It is by reflections 
such as these that the incitement will con- 
tinue, and you will soon establish such a 
regular custom of early rising, that the 
practice will eventually become habitual, 
without the necessity of recalling the rea- 
sons which led to it. 

I am aware of the inflexibility of a 
deeply-rooted habit, and the difficulty that 
attends the effort to eradicate it : but this 
difficulty is greatly increased or diminished 
according as the means employed for its 
destruction are improperly or wisely select- 
ed. And I do not hesitate to say, that if 
you will follow my advice for one month, 
you will find that the slothful and pernici- 
ous habit of lying in bed longer than is suf- 
ficient to recruit the exhausted energies of 
the frame, may be most easily overcome. 
What is habit, but the repetition of single 
acts ? The first was an involuntary error, the 
next derived a kind of sanction from its 
having a precedent, the third followed upon 
the authority of the former two, the fourth 



EARLY RISING 



appeared almost natural, and so they con- 
tinued in succession till their impropriety 
was overlooked, and their frequency served 
to hide their odiousness. " Habit," says a 
learned writer, " like a complex mathe- 
matical scheme, flowed originally from a 
point, which insensibly became a line, 
which unfortunately became a curve, which 
finally became a difficulty not easily to 
be unravelled." But is there no way of 
unravelling this difficulty, though it may not 
be very easily effected ? May it not be gra- 
dually destroyed, as it was gradually created'? 
No doubt it may; and the most effectual 
manner of emancipating yourself from the 
slavish habit alluded to, will be by breaking 
it off as it was formed by degrees. 

You have most likely felt all the ear- 
nestness which is very frequently the result 
of recent convictions, and have determined 
to carry your resolutions into practice, 
anxious to derive the immediate advantage 
which you wished to obtain, rather than to 
lay a solid foundation for future perseve- 
rance. You have risen two or three hours 



136 LETTERS ON 

earlier than your accustomed time, and 
pleased alike with the novelty of the thing 
itself, the conquest you have made, and the 
liveliness and vivacity of spirits which the 
morning air has produced, you have thought 
that the point was gained by a single effort, 
and have given yourself up to all the se- 
curity of victory. But you have found that 
you were mistaken. In a few mornings, 
when the first impulse had lost its original 
force, when the stimulus had subsided, and 
was succeeded by a self-complacent assu- 
rance of success, and when the diminution 
of your usual quantity of sleep occasioned 
a greater than ordinary degree of drowsi- 
ness and disinclination to rise ; you relapsed 
at once into your old degeneracy, dispirited 
by your failure, and requiring some new 
energies to rouse you from your lethargy. 
I dp not wonder at the result, for I have felt 
precisely the same myself; and if I may be 
permitted to allude to my own experience 
as a proof of the most effectual method of 
gaining your object, the plan I would re- 
commend possesses that advantage. You 



EARLY RISING. 137 

must conquer by degrees. Rise five minutes 
earlier every morning, till you have arrived 
at the hour which appears to you most eli- 
gible. You will thus accomplish the work 
which you are so anxious to effect. The 
daily subtraction from sleep will be so 
trifling that it will not occasion that drowsi- 
ness on the succeeding morning which the 
sudden change from rising at eight to five 
must necessarily produce. You will thus 
reach the object of your wishes in the 
surest and easiest manner. You will be 
daily undermining a very injurious habit, 
and confirming a very useful one. A 
short period will make such a sensible dif- 
ference in the time you have gained, that 
you will begin to feel the pleasure of victory, 
before you are scarcely conscious of having 
commenced the combat. The last day in 
each week will be half an hour longer than 
the first, and at the termination of a month 
you will become an early riser, with the ad- 
ditional advantage of having formed the 
habit in such a manner that there is little 
danger of its being relinquished. 



138 LETTERS ON 

As I cannot presume to take upon my- 
self the character of your family physician, 
I will not venture to attempt a definitive 
answer to your question, as to the quantity 
of sleep necessary for health. Each indi- 
vidual may soon judge for himself, and very 
few err on the side of allowing themselves 
too little. I do not think that nature re- 
quires more than six or seven hours sleep at 
the farthest ; and if one quarter of your time 
consumed in total inaction be sufficient to 
recruit the corporeal and mental faculties, 
you will surely be anxious that no more 
should be sacrificed than is absolutely ne- 
cessary. If you feel the proportion to be 
inadequate, let an hour be taken from the 
evening rather than the morning. Retire 
to rest earlier, but do not lie in bed later. 
Look upon the beginning of the day as 
sacred; resolve that nothing shall rob you 
of it ; remember that the enjoyment of it 
is the reward of a conquest, the spoils of 
an incursion upon an enemy's territory, un- 
justly acquired by him, and lawfully regain- 
ed by you ; that they are the uninterrupted 



EARLY RISING. 139 

hours upon which no unwelcome visiter 
intrudes, no unexpected engagement in- 
fringes, and no unlocked for employment 
trespasses. Shew that you know their 
value too well to throw them away ; that 
you estimate their advantages at too high a 
rate to relinquish them. Consider the re- 
gret you have sometimes felt when you 
have omitted to improve them ; the expense 
of feeling it has cost you when your resolu- 
tions were ineffectual, and the satisfaction 
that crowned your triumph. 

But let me remind you of one thing ; 
that the best assurance of eventual success 
in your endeavours to form this desirable 
habit, will result from the assistance of the 
Holy Spirit. I need not urge upon you the 
consideration of your own weakness : a re- 
currence to many parts of your past experi- 
ence will best convince you of this. Nor 
need I point out to you those passages in the 
sacred Scriptures in which his influences 
are promised, and his assistance is proffered. 
You are well acquainted with them, and I 
will conclude by entreating you to apply 



them to the present object ; and whatever 
difficulties may appear to oppose, whatever 
impediments may threaten to obstruct, and 
whatever obstacles may seem to prevent, 
they shall all be completely removed and 
overcome; and you will experience the 
truth of that encouraging declaration, that 
through Jesus Christ strengthening us we 
can do all things. 

I am, &c. 



EARLY RISING. 



LETTER XIII. 

To Mr. Charles G. 

MY DEAR CHARLES, 

WHATEVER arguments may have 
been employed in the letters which I have 
already addressed to you on the subject of 
early rising, they have been principally, if 
not entirely, drawn from considerations 
which may be regarded as being exclusively 
of a temporal nature. Not but that I am 
fully sensible that every advantage, which I 
have endeavoured to point out to you as 
the result of this beneficial practice, may be 
rendered subservient to the promotion of 
more important objects, and the fulfilment 
of higher purposes ; but the motives which 
have been urged have been such as might 
with equal propriety have been insisted on, 
if I had been addressing myself to one who 
was a stranger to the great truths of the 
Gospel, and who did not profess to be in- 
fluenced by the doctrines, or guided by the 



142 LETTERS ON 

precepts of Christianity. But you are 
equally sensible with myself of the com- 
parative insignificance of every motive that 
is not derived from the fountain of all truth ; 
and of the deficiency of every result that is 
not connected with the advancement of the 
glory of God, and the promotion of our own 
spiritual interests. It is upon this ground 
that I now desire to meet you ; and what- 
ever may have been written with regard to 
your health, your time, or your intellectual 
improvement, it will not be of so much 
avail as those reasons which I would urge 
upon you as a Christian, and those prin- 
ciples of action with which I would endea- 
vour to supply you from the word of God. 
To one who believes with a firm and well- 
grounded faith in the doctrines, who has 
imbibed with his earliest convictions the 
spirit, and who endeavours to practise in 
his daily walk and conversation the com- 
mands of Christ, such an appeal will not 
be made in vain ; and I cannot but hope 
that if I succeed in convincing you that the 
habit which I have endeavoured to recom- 
mend forms an essential part of Christian 



EARLY RISING. 143 

duty and gospel obedience; and that the 
contrary practice is opposed to those pure 
and holy precepts which the word of truth 
contains, and is inconsistent with the cha- 
racter of a disciple of Christ; I shall have 
succeeded in leading you to view the sub- 
ject in a light in which you have never be- 
fore regarded it, and that this will be fol- 
lowed by a corresponding practice, proving 
at once the sincerity of your convictions 
and your decision of character. 

You have not now to be told that the 
Bible must furnish you with the grounds of 
your faith, and that from thence you are to 
draw the rules of your conduct ; that it is 
there you must learn what you are to be- 
lieve, and discover what you are to prac- 
tise : and that whatever temptations the 
desire of self-gratification may present, 
whatever allurements fleshly indulgence 
may offer, and whatever obstacles a sensual 
inclination may create ; however uninviting 
an appearance the fear of personal incon- 
venience may give to particular passages 
of sacred writ ; however we may be some- 
times inclined to modify the requirements 



144 LETTERS ON 

of the Gospel, and whatever boundary our 
own accommodation would set to the extent 
of the divine commands ; yet still the pure 
and unadulterated word of God is to be the 
rule of all our actions ; nor must we endea- 
vour to reduce Christianity to a mere spe- 
culative creed, and circumscribe its influ- 
ence within the limits of a few inoperative 
doctrines. And though I may not be able 
to refer you to any one text in Scripture 
which may have been originally intended to 
forbid the prejudicial practice I have been 
deprecating, or to enforce the adoption of 
the habit I have been recommending ; yet I 
do not hesitate to assert, that the whole 
spirit of the Gospel, the constant tenor of 
its doctrines, the invariable tendency of its 
precepts, and the evident result of its prac- 
tical influence, all combine to stigmatise 
the sensual indulgence of the morning slug- 
gard as being opposed to the will of God, 
and contrary to the very fundamental prin- 
ciples on which the whole fabric of Chris- 
tianity itself is erected. 

However a very large proportion of 
those who have professed to embrace the 



EARLY RISING. 



Scriptures as the rule of their conduct may 
act, and whatever attempts they may make 
to evade the personal application of those 
parts of the word of truth which interfere 
with the indulgence of their besetting sins, 
yet the Bible still remains the same ; " let 
God be true and every man a liar:" and 
whenever you are tempted for one moment 
to contrast your life or behaviour with 
that of those around you, rather than to try 
it by the unerring standard of divine revela- 
tion ; remember that you are exhorted " not 
to do as do others;" that " to their own 
Master they must stand or fall ; " and that 
you are to draw your principles of action 
simply from the word of God, being influ- 
enced by no example but in proportion as 
it is conformable to the pattern there ex- 
hibited, and submitting to no authority 
which is not supported by the solid basis 
of everlasting truth. 

The temperance and self-denial which 
the Gospel enjoins upon its believers, ex- 
tend much further than many are wiling to 
allow ; or, if their judgments are convinced, 
their conduct contradicts their convictions. 

H 



146 LETTEKS OK 

They may abstain from those grosser vices 
which are included in the reprehension of 
many of its declarations, and the commis- 
sion of which an attention to external de- 
corum, and the general notions of society, 
would have prevented : but they appear to 
be unacquainted with that purity which is 
required by the word of God, and which, 
by extending its influence to the inmost re- 
cesses of the heart, and diffusing itself into 
every thought and every action, evidently 
demonstrates the divine original from which 
it springs, and happily promotes a resem- 
blance of His holy image. If you have 
never viewed the practice of early rising as 
forming a distinguishing feature in the mo- 
rality of the Gospel, and as constituting an 
important branch of Christian duty, it may 
not be misemploying either your time or my 
own, if I endeavour to point out to you by 
what particular language the Gospel en- 
forces this habit of temperance, as well as 
the end it has in view. And I cannot but 
hope and believe, that you will no longer 
waver in your opinions whether the admo- 
nitions of Scripture are applicable to the 



EARLY RISING. 147 

indulgence which I am anxious you should 
overcome, or be indifferent to the exercise 
of that self-denial which I am equally 
anxious you should practise. 

And what is the end at which the Gos- 
pel aims, in enforcing the duty of Christian 
temperance? The apostle Paul will best 
explain this : " Every man that striveth 
for the mastery is temperate in all things ; 
now they do it to obtain a corruptible 
crown, but we an incorruptible."* The 
means are only to be considered as valuable 
in proportion as they are instrumental in ef- 
fecting the desired object; and the great 
and important object which Christians 
should constantly keep in view, is to obtain 
the mastery, to complete the victory over 
their enemies the world, and the flesh. 
The latter is to be constantly regarded as a 
most indefatigable and artful foe; and the 
disciple of Jesus Christ will not lay down 
the " weapons of his warfare" against it, 
till the " Captain of his salvation" has 
made him come off more than a con- 

1 Cor. ix, 25. 



48 LETTERS UN 

queror, through him that hath loved him. 
Every thing, therefore, that is calculated to 
weaken his efforts, to render his former 
triumphs of little avail, or to interrupt the 
constancy and diminish the force of his pre- 
sent exertions, is equally opposed to his 
own welfare and the design of the Gospel. 
And let me put it to your candid judgment 
let me refer it to your own experience, if 
the habit I have been reprehending has not 
this manifest tendency. It is in itself a 
complete surrender to the demands of the 
flesh, and a relinquishment of that superi- 
ority which the mind ought ever to maintain 
over the body; it is a concession of the 
fundamental principles of Christian practice 
to the requirements of a base propensity, 
which is inconsistent with the purity, and in- 
compatible with the holiness of evangelical 
doctrines and precepts. And in its imme- 
diate, as well as its more remote effects, it 
produces a torpid inactivity, which is di- 
rectly opposite to that lively watchfulness 
which should characterise the follower of 
the Son of God. It encourages the growth 
of the most unholy and impure desires ; it 



EARLY KISINU. 149 

disables us from enduring hardships as 
" good soldiers of Jesus Christ; it unfits 
the soul for the enjoyment of that calm and 
happy frame, in which every impetuous pas- 
sion becomes tractable, and all the faculties 
of the body and mind are subservient to its 
desires and seem almost to animate its de- 
votion : it checks the energies of that faith 
which disengages us from the trammels of 
the world, enfranchises us from the cap- 
tivity of our senses, delivers us from the 
thraldom of our lusts, and while it exhibits 
to us the glories of heaven, prepares us for 
their possession and their enjoyment. It 
pampers and gratifies the body, enfeebles 
and enervates the mind, and throws a dark 
and gloomy cloud over the Christian's future 
prospects, which seems to lengthen the 
race he has to run, and to magnify its dif- 
ficulties ; while the contest in which he is 
engaged assumes a more arduous and doubt- 
ful character. It robs him of the time which 
might otherwise have been employed in re- 
cruiting his failing streugth, in re-animating 
his declining energies, in putting on the ar- 
mour of God ; and iu striving for that crown 



LETTERS ON 



of glory which is the goal of his course and 
the reward of his toil. 

And call to your recollection the par- 
ticular language which the Scripture em- 
ploys to describe and enforce this duty of 
temperance. The teachers of those false 
and delusive systems which have been de- 
signed to gain proselytes by gratifying the 
lusts, rather than by reforming the lives of 
those who embrace them, have endeavoured 
to court their favour by flattering their sen- 
sual imaginations, and yielding to their cor- 
rupt inclinations ; but " the faithful and the 
true witness" detests such a surrender to 
our sinful desires ; he has declared the sa- 
crifices which are to be offered, even in the 
mottos which are inscribed on the portals 
of admission to his kingdom ; and whilst the 
hand is lifted to knock, the eye beholds in 
plain and legible characters, " except a man 
deny himself and take up his cross daily, hu 
cannot be my disciple." The temperance 
of the Gospel is not dwindled down, by any 
soft and insinuating expressions, to a mere 
nominal virtue ; nor are the mildest terms 
selected : " We through the spirit arc to 



EARIA niSING. 151 

mortify the deeds of the body."* We are 
called upon " to mortify our members 
which are upon the earth ;"f " they that 
are Christ's" are said " to have crucified 
the flesh with the lusts and affections there- 
of.'^ This is evidently intended to imply 
such a complete conquest over the body, 
such a radical and essential change, as shall 
subdue and fetter its carnal appetites, and 
enable the believer to say, " I am crucified 
to the world, and the world is crucified to 
me." And can you imagine, my dear 
Charles, that there are any limits to the 
extent of this mortification ? that a line of 
boundary may be drawn, and that all the 
lusts of the flesh beyond that line may be 
indulged, while those within it are to be 
subdued? Depend upon it, the declara- 
tions of the Gospel know of no such re- 
strictions ; and if any unrighteous propensity 
be tolerated, or any carnal appetite che- 
rished, be assured that insomuch as this is 
concenied, you are only a " hearer but not 
a doer of the word.'' 

* Rom. via. IS. t Col. iii. 5. J Galatiaus, v. 24. 
James, i. 2J. 



And consider, my dear friend, the great 
importance of self denial to a Christian ; 
the principles which it involves, and the 
results to which it leads. Read with a 
serious and fixed attention the numerous 
passages which enjoin this duty.* " Self- 
denial of all kinds," says an excellent wri- 
ter, " is the very life and soul of piety, but 
he that hath not so much of it as to be 
early at prayer, cannot think that he has 
taken up his cross, and is following Christ. 
What conquest has he got over himself? 
what right hand has he cut off? what trials 
is he prepared for ? what sacrifice is he 
ready to offer to God, who cannot be so 
cruel to himself as to rise to prayer at such 
a time as the drudging part of the world 
are content to rise to their labour ?"f 
There can be no doubt that self-denial is 
an important duty, and one with which the 
Christian cannot dispense : and its privi- 
leges are as great as its observance is im- 
perative. You are exhorted " to walk in 

Matt. x. 38 ; xvi. 24. Mark, viii. 34. Luke, u. 23. 
John, xii. 25. Acts, xiv. 22. 1 Peter, iv. 12. t Law's 

Serious Call. 



EARLY RISING. 153 

the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts 
of the flesh;"* and the victory over these 
lusts, the not fulfilling them either in word 
or in deed, affords the most delightful evi- 
dence that you are really " walking in the 
spirit." And will you suffer om of these 
lusts to remain triumphant: 1 will you forego 
the honour of this conquest ? will you re- 
linquish the satisfaction resulting from this 
evidence ? 

I must be permitted before I conclude 
this already-extended letter, to draw an in- 
ference as to the impiety which a Christian 
!> guilty of in indulging the slothful habit 
of lying late in bed, from the contrast \\ hich 
the Scriptures present between an uncon- 
verted and a converted character, and the 
peculiar terms by which the state of each 
is described. The former is represented as 
being sunk into an awful lethargy, a deep 
deep, a moral stupor, that resembles death ; 
and the great and important change which 
is produced by the effectual operation of 
the influences of the Holy Spirit is de- 

* Galatians, v. 16. 

H 5 



154 LETTERS OW 

scribed as waking from this sleep, and a 
resurrection from this death.* And will 
you voluntarily relapse into a state so 
nearly resembling that of nature's dark- 
ness, whilst Jesus Christ is proclaiming 
himself to be " the light of the world,"f 
and is declaring that " he that followeth 
him shall not walk in darkness, but shall 
have the light of life?" And will you in- 
dulge a habit which has furnished the spirit 
of truth with his most frequent metaphor, 
to convey a suitable idea of the deadly ef- 
fects of sin? Oh! rather listen to the aw- 
ful interrogatory, " What meanest thou, 
oh t sleeper! arise, call upon thy God;"! 
attend to the warning voice, " Awake, thou 
that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and 
Christ shall give thee light." Know " that 
it is high time to awake out of sleep, for 
the night is far spent, the day is at hand : 
cast off, therefore, the works of darkness, 
and put on the armour of light." || 

Recollect too the representations which 

* Rom. vi. 13. John, v. 24. Eph. ii. 5 ; v. 14. Co- 
loss. ii. 13. 1 Peter, ii. 24. t John, viii. 12. J Jonah, 
i. 6. Eph. v, 14. 1| Rom. xiii. 11. 12. 



EARLY RISING. 155 

the word of God has exhibited of the life 
of the Christian. It is made up of constant 
exertion. It is a life of vigilance and of 
war. It is described asjighting, wrestling, 
striving, and contending in a race. We are 
emphatically called " children of the day ;" 
and it is this which is to distinguish us from 
the world which surrounds us. We are 
compared to watchful virgins having oil in 
their lamps ; servants waiting for their 
Lord's return ; and labourers in a vineyard. 
The scriptures abound with exhortations to 
watchfulness;* and our blessed Saviour 
repeatedly enforced this injunction by the 
parables which were designed for its illus- 
tration. And " for yourself," my dear 
Charles, remember, and " know perfectly, 
that the day of the Lord so cometh as a 
thief in the night;" but be " not in darkness, 
that that day should overtake you as a thief." 
" You are," I trust, a child " of the light, 
and a child of the day ;" " we are," neither 
of us, I hope, " of the night, nor of darkness. 

* Matt. xxir. 42 ; xxv. 13. Mark, xiii. 33, 37. Luke, 
xxi. 36. Acts, xx. 31. 1 Cor. xvi. 13. 1 Thess. v. 61 
2 Tim. iv. 5. 1 Peter, iv. 7; v. 8. Rev. xvi. 15. 



156 . LETTERS ON 

Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but 
let us watch and be sober. Let us who 
are of the day be sober, putting on the 
breast-plate of truth and love, and for an 
helmet the hope of salvation. For God 
hath not appointed us to wrath ; but to 
obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ ; 
who died for us, that whether we wake or 
sleep, we should live together with him." * 
That we may be amongst those who shall 
wake to eternal life, after the sleep that 
must succeed the day of our present ex- 
istence, is the ardent prayer of 

Your affectionate friend. 
* 1 Thess. v. 210. 



EARLY RISING. 157 



LETTER XIV. 

To the same. 

MY DEAR CHARLES, 

I SAID that it was probable, that 
there might not be any injunction contained 
in the word of God, which, in its original 
application, was designed to enforce the 
duty of the habit of early rising, or any 
passage expressly written to reprehend the 
contrary practice : but I am inclined to 
think that I was mistaken, and that you 
will agree with me that there are several 
parts of Scripture, which directly command 
the one, and forbid the other. A few of 
these when brought to your recollection, 
may tend to confirm the resolutions which 
you profess to have already formed ; and I 
am very sanguine in hoping, that if any ar- 
guments of mine could produce so impor- 
tant a result, the imperative claims which 
those I shall now urge must have upon 
your attention, will completely effect that 



158 LETTEUS ON 

change in your future habits which I have 
so anxiously desired. 

The word of God, whilst it derives its 
principal value from its exhibiting the way 
of salvation, and revealing to us the Saviour 
of sinners, abounds at the same time with 
moral precepts, which afford the wisest 
directions for our conduct through life. 
They who diligently peruse its contents, 
and sacredly observe its commands, find, by 
their own experience, that godliness hath 
both " the promise of this life and of that 
which is to come." And were the Bible 
to be regarded only as a code of ethics, an 
attention to its maxims, and a submission 
to its rules, would produce a very material 
change in the manners and habits of man- 
kind : the happiness of society at large 
would be increased, and the comfort of 
each individual would be greatly augment- 
ed. It directs its censures not only against 
those vices which carry their own repre- 
hension with them in their effects upon 
others, but it also reproves those sins, 
which, appearing .to be less mischievous in 
their tendency, are nevertheless productive 



EARLY RISING. 159 

of the worst and most injurious conse- 
quences to those who indulge in their 
commission. 

Sloth is a sin altogether contrary to the 
spirit, and inconsistent with the require- 
ments of the word of truth. How frequently 
does the wisest of men exhibit this seduc- 
tive enchantress in all her native deformity! 
The sluggard is a character which he 
appears to have resolved to expose, and 
hold up to its merited contempt. " The 
soul of the sluggard desireth and hath no- 
thing, but the soul of the diligent shall be 
made fat." * " The desire of the slothful 
killeth him, for his hands refuse to labour."t 
" The sluggard will not plough by reason of 
the cold, therefore shall he beg in harvest 
and have nothing." J " Slothfulness casteth 
into a deep sleep, and an idle soul shall 
suffer hunger." Nor are these reprehen- 
sions confined to Solomon. Idleness was 
one of the great iniquities charged against 
Sodom : " Behold this was the iniquity of 
thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, 

* Prov. xiii. 4. f Prov. xxi. ^5. J Pruv. xx. 4. 
4 Prov. xix. 15. 



160 LETTERS ON 

and abundance of idleness was in her, and 
in her daughters."* How sharply does 
Paul reprove this sin when he reminds the 
Thessalonians, " that when he was with 
them, this he commanded them, that if any 
would not work, neither should he eat ;" *|- 
and he treats them as being unfit for Chris- 
tian society : and part of his advice to the 
Romans is, " not slothful in business, fer- 
vent in spirit, serving the Lord :" $ whilst 
in his epistle to the Hebrews he exhorts 
them, " that they be not slothful, but fol- 
lowers of them who through faith and 
patience inherit the promises." 

And what more distinguishing charac- 
teristic can be discovered in the sluggard 
than his indulgence in sleep ? " How long 
wilt thou sleep, oh! sluggard? a little 
slumber, a little folding of the hands to 
sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one 
that travelled), and thy want as an armed 
man." || "Asa door turneth upon its 
hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. 
The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom, 

* Eaek. XTU 49. t 2 Thess. Ui. 10. J Rom. 

1L 11. $ Heb, vL 12. || Prov. vi, 9, 10, 11. 



EARLY RISING. 161 

it grieveth him to bring it again to his 
mouth."* And at last his judgment be- 
comes so depraved by the influence of 
sloth, that he is even not ashamed to ad- 
vocate its cause : the sluggard is wiser in 
his own conceit, than seven men that can 
render a reason ."t Listen again to the 
warning voice of Solomon ; " love not sleep, 
lest thou come to poverty : open thine eyes, 
and thou shalt be satisfied with bread." $ 
The love of slumber was one of the awful 
charges laid against the watchmen of Israel : 
" they were blind, they were all ignorant, 
they were all dumb dogs, they could not 
bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to 

SLUMBER."^ 

The word of God very frequently en- 
forces the value of time. The numerous 
allusions which it contains to the brevity of 
life, and the many instances in which it 
endeavours, from this consideration, to im- 
press upon the mind of the, reader the ne- 
cessity of an immediate attention to the most 
important of all concerns, the salvation of 

Prov. xivi. 14, 15. t ProT. xxvi, 16. J Prov. 
xx. 13. $ baiah.lvi. 10. 



162 LETTERS ON 

his soul, afford repeated proofs of the design 
of the holy spirit in dictating such passages. 
Their constant inquiry is, if properly ap- 
plied, " why stand ye here all the day 
idle ? " * and their command, " whatsoever 
thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, 
for there is no work, nor device, nor know- 
ledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither 
thou goest."t It was the declaration of 
our great master and guide, " I must work 
the works of him that sent me while it is 
day ; the night cometh when no man can 
work." | Paul, in his epistle to the Ephe- 
sians, makes the proper employment of 
time, and the seizing it, as it were, from 
every thing that would unnecessarily occupy 
it, the distinguishing mark between the wise 
and fools : " see then that ye walk cir- 
cumspectly, not as fools, but as wise;- 
redeeming the time, because the days are 
evil : wherefore be ye not unwise, but un- 
derstanding what the will of the Lord is." 
And again, " walk in wisdom toward them 
that are without, redeeming the time." \\ 

* Matt. xx. 6. t Eccl. ix. 10. J John, "u. 1. 

Eph. v. 15, 16, 17. || Col. iv. 5. 



EARLY RISING. 165 

There are frequent allusions in the sa- 
cred writings to the morning, and we find 
that many very important events in the 
lives of several individuals occurred in the 
early part of the day. It was early in 
the morning that Lot left the fatal city 
which was soon to be destroyed. " And 
when the morning arose, then the angels 
hastened Lot, saying, arise, take thy wife, 
and thy two daughters which are here, lest 
thou be consumed in the iniquity of the 
city. And while he lingered the men laid 
hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of 
his wife, and upon the hand of his two 
daughters; the Lord being merciful unto 
him, and they brought him forth and set 
him without the city."* It was early in 
the morning that Isaac and a neighbouring 
king " sware one to another." " They rose 
up betimes in the morning."t It was early 
in the morning that Jacob rose after he was 
favoured with the heavenly vision on his 
road to Haran. " And Jacob rose up 
early in the morning." J It was early in 
the morning that Moses was commanded 
* Geu, xix. 15, 16. t Gen. xxvi. 31. jGeii. xxviii. 18. 



164 LETTERS ON 

to deliver his important message to Pha- 
roah. " And the Lord said unto Moses, 
rise up early in the morning, and stand be- 
fore Pharoah, (lo ! he cotneth forth to the 
water,) and say unto him, thus saith the 
Lord ; let my people go that they may 
serve me." * It was early in the morning 
that the Lord appeared for the deliverance 
of Israel, and destroyed the Egyptians who 
pursued them. " And it came to pass that 
in the morning watch the Lord looked unto 
the host of the Egyptians through the pil- 
lar of fire, and of the cloud, and troubled 
the host of the Egyptians." f It was early 
in the morning that the manna was to be 
gathered by the Israelites. J It was early 
in the morning that the symbols of idolatry 
were discovered to have been removed by 
Gideon, for " when the men of the city 
rose early in the morning, behold the altar 
of Baal was cast down, and the grove was 
cut down that was by it, and the second 
bullock was offered upon the altar that was 
built." It was-early in the morning that 

Exod. riii. 80 ; ix. 13. t Exod, xiv. 24. $ Exod. 
xvi. $ Judges, TI. 28. 



EARLY RISING. 165 

Darius repaired to Daniel to see " if the 
living God was able to deliver his servant 
from the lions." " Then the king arose 
very early in the morning, and went in 
haste unto the den of lions."* It was early 
in the morning that the anxious Marys re- 
sorted to the tomb of their risen Lord. 
" In the end of the sabbath, as it began to 
dawn, towards the first day of the week, 
came Mary Magdalene, and the other 
Mary, to the sepulchre." -f- It was " very 
early in the morning at the rising of the 
sun" | " early, when it was yet dark." 

There are many allusions in the sacred 
Scriptures to the early part of the day, 
which should serve to invest it with addi- 
tional interest. Job, when reflecting on the 
utter worthlessness of man, inquires, " what 
is man that thou shouldst magnify him, and 
that thou shouldst set thy heart upon him ? 
And that thou shouldst visit him every 
morning ?" || Jeremiah says, " it is of the 
Lord's mercies we are not consumed, be- 
cause his compassions fail not, they are 

* Dan. vi. 19. t Matt, jxviii. 1. J Mark, xvi. 2; Luke, 
xxiv. 1 ; John, xx. 1. $ John, xx. 1. || Job. vii. 17, 18. 



new every morning."* David refers to this 
period, as being a season of peculiar hap- 
piness. " His anger endureth but a mo- 
ment ; in his favour is life ; -weeping may 
endure for a night, but joy cometh in the 
morning"-^ Isaiah thus alludes to the 
morning : " The Lord hath given me the 
tongue of the learned, that I should know 
how to speak a word in season to him that 
is weary ; he wakeneth morning by morn- 
ing ; he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the 
learned."^; The prophet Hosea compares 
the advance of the Lord to this period. 
" Then shall we know if we follow on to 
know the Lord ; his going forth is prepared 
as the morning." 

The morning is frequently employed as 
a simile by the sacred writers. The pro- 
mise made to Job, on his " preparing bis 
heart and stretching out his hand to God," 
was, that " his age should be clearer than 
the noon day ; he should shine forth, he 
should be as the morning." || The promise 
to repenting Israel is, " Then shall the 

* Lam. lii. 22, 23. t Psalms, xxx. 5. t Isaiah, 
1. 4. Hosea, vi. 3. \\ Job, xi. 17. 



EAKLY RISING. 167 

light break forth as the morning, and thy 
health shall spring forth speedily."* The 
promise to him that overcometh and keep- 
eth his works unto the end, is, " that to 
him shall be given the morning star,"^ and 
the great Alpha and Omega, the beginning 
and the end, the first and the last, de- 
clares that he is " the bright and morning 
star."$ 

Consider, my dear Charles, the long 
train of examples which holy writ records, 
of the practice of the habit of early rising. 
Can I say more to recommend it, than that 
it has been approved and followed by pa- 
triarchs, prophets, and kings ? has been re- 
commended by a Solomon, and enforced 
by the example of a greater than Solomon? 
Abraham " got up early in the morning ." 
Isaac rose up " betimes in the morning." || 
Jacob " rose up early in the morning."^ 
Labau " rose up early in the morning."** 
Moses " rose up early in the morning." ft 

* Isaiah, IviiL 8. t Rev. ii. 28. J Hev. xxii. 16. 
$ Gen. xix. 27 j xxi. 14 ; xxii. 3. || Gen. xxvi. 31. f Gen, 
xxviii. 18. ** Gen. xxxi. 65. tt Exod. xxiv. 4; xxxiv. 4. 



168 LETTERS ON 

Job rose up early in the morning, and "thus 
did he continually." * Gideon " rose up 
early in the morning." t Joshua " rose early 
in the morning."! Samuel " rose early to 
meet Saul in the morning." David " rose 
up early in the morning." || Jeremiah con- 
tinued in the habit of " rising early and 
speaking" for twenty-three years.f Nehe- 
miah and his fellow-labourers " laboured 
from the rising of the morning till the stars 
appeared."** And our blessed Saviour is 
represented as having risen early, affording 
a practical illustration of his own precept, 
" work whilst it is day." It was " at the 
break of day that he called to him his dis- 
ciples, and chose of them twelve, whom he 
called apostles." ft It was " early in the 
morning that the people came to him in the 
temple to hear him." ^f " It was early in 
the morning that Jesus came into the temple 

Job. i. 5. t Judges, vi. 28, 38. J Joshua, iii 1 ; 
TJ. 12; vil 16; viii. 10. 1 Sam. a. 26; xv. If. 
|| 1 Sam. xvii. 20. Psalms, T. 3; lv. 17 ; !ii. 16; buxviii. 
13. xdi. 1.2; cxir. 147 ; cxffii. 8. 5 Jer. xxv. 3; vii. 
13. * Nehem. iv. 21. tt Luke, vi. 13. tf Luke, 
xii. 38. 



EARLY RISING. 169 

and all the people came unto him :"* and 
it was " in the morning, a great while be- 
fore day, that he went out to a solitary place 
to pray."f 

I will not add any observations of my 
own in addition to these scriptural illustra- 
tions and examples : " Go thou, and do 
likewise." 

Yours, &c. 

* John, viii. 2. t Mark, i. 35. 



170 LETTERS OW 



LETTER XV. 

To the same. 

MY DEAR CHARLES, 

WHATEVER may have been the 
opinion you once entertained respecting the 
effects which religion is calculated to pro- 
duce upon the mind, and whatever false 
notions you may have formerly imbibed as 
to its tendency to lead to a state of mental 
dejection ; you have long since abandoned 
these mistaken sentiments, and have been 
enabled to refute the aspersion, whenever 
it has been cast by others on the truths 
which you now hold so dear, by a refe- 
rence to your own experience, and an appeal 
to your personal knowledge. Though I 
may not know all the varied feelings which 
have attended your Christian course, nor 
be acquainted with the alternate hopes and 
fears which have brightened or clouded 
your prospects ; yet I have every reason to 
believe that you have not been altogether a 



EARLY RISING. 



stranger to that " peace which passeth all 
understanding;" and that you have ha- 
bitually (though, perhaps, not uninterrup- 
tedly,) enjoyed that calm and rational com- 
placency, which can only result from the 
soul's reposing itself on its God; and which 
is perpetuated by the vivid apprehension of 
that in him, which is truly delectable and 
pleasing to us, leading the soul to such an 
estimation of the perfections of the object 
of its admiration, and to so ardent an affec- 
tion for the Father of all its mercies, as 
have rendered the recollection of former 
enjoyments derived from temporal objects, 
and former pleasures resulting from inferior 
employments, a source of unfeigned re- 
pentance, and a cause for self-accusation 
and surprise. " Wisdom's ways are," in- 
deed, " ways of pleasantness, and her paths 
are/' indeed, " paths of peace." The joys 
of piety are such as those only know, who 
have drank at the fountain of life from 
whence they issue; the blessings which she 
bestows are not scattered around her with 
a heedless profusion : and whilst their re- 
ality is denied by some, and a participation 



172 LETTERS ON 

in them claimed by others, who have never 
experienced them ; the humble disciple of 
the meek and lowly Jesus, appearing to the 
world to be bending beneath a cross which 
he can scarcely sustain, and the weight of 
which they are willing to increase by the 
obloquy they affix to his conduct, treads 
in the footsteps of his Master, follows him 
" through evil and through good report" 
on earth ; and fixing the eye of faith upon 
him who has been " made perfect through 
sufferings," and who, " though crucified 
through weakness, yet liveth by the power 
of God,"* rejoices in the exaltation of 
his ascended Lord, and exults in the pros- 
pect of the fulfilment of the promise, that 
" where he is, there shall his servants be 
also."f The world may witness the self- 
denial that a firm belief in the doctrines of 
the Gospel produces, but they cannot read 
the hearts of those who practise it. They 
may see and despise the cross that is taken 
up, but they are ignorant of the crown that 
is to succeed. They may distinguish some 

2 Cor. xui. 4. t John, xiL 26. 



EARLY RISING. 173 

of the thorns that strew the pilgrim's road, 
but they know not the pilgrim's happiness, 
when his heart is overflowing with love and 
tenderness, on the recollection that the 
thorns which now may wound his feet, once 
pierced his Saviour's head. They have yet 
to learn, that we have "joys which a 
stranger intermeddleth not with;"* that 
we have delights which they do not envy, 
because they cannot feel ; and that the re- 
ligion which we profess, and the Gospel we 
embrace, impart a high-raised hope and an 
exulting anticipation, a present happiness, 
and an assurance of future glory, which, 
contrasted with their groveling pursuits 
and misnamed pleasures, make them shrink 
into worse than nothingness, into a hideous- 
ness and deformity, which the light of truth 
alone could reveal. 

The mortification and self-denial of the 
Christian are a voluntary obedience paid to 
the commands of him, whom he considers 
it his highest honour to serve. His sub- 
mission to his authority, and his compliance 

* Prov. xiv. 10. 



174 LETTERS ON 

with his will, are not the constrained sub- 
jection of one who only wants the power to 
break off the yoke, but the spontaneous 
acts of what he feels to be " a reasonable 
service." Whilst he often " sows in tears," 
he knows that he shall eternally " reap in 
joy." It is not merely his privilege to be 
permitted to participate in the pleasures of 
devotion, but the enjoyment of them forms 
part of the exhortations contained in the 
sacred writings. " Rejoice evermore."* 
" Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I 
say, rejoice."1* Indeed the very feelings 
which religious worship inspires, are neces- 
sarily connected with spiritual delight. Can 
there be any emotions more conducive to 
our happiness than such as the generous af- 
fections of gratitude excite ? And who has 
such cause for gratitude as the Christian : 
How delightful is that utterance of the 
sentiments of the heart which accompanies 
praise, when he contemplates the glories of 
the divine Being, as exhibited in the traces 
of his footsteps in nature, and displayed in 

1 Thess. r. 16. t Ptolip. iv. 4. 



EARLY RISING. 175 

the perfection of his attributes in Revela- 
tion. How pleasing are those acknowledg- 
ments of obligation, and expressions of 
thankfulness, which are produced by the 
recollections of his dependence upon the 
Father of all his mercies, and by reflecting 
on the compassion of his Saviour, " who, 
though he was rich, yet, for his sake, be- 
came poor, that he through his poverty 
might be made rich." 

Are you inclined to ask me, my dear 
Charles, how far these remarks are relevant 
to the subject of our present correspon- 
dence ? If you put such a question, 1 am 
satisfied that the doubt can only originate 
from an ignorance of the peculiar feelings 
which the Christian experiences in the early 
part of the day. If there be any time es- 
pecially favourable to devotional exercises, 
and particularly calculated to excite senti- 
ments of praise, it is in the morning. I 
have already alluded to the effect which 
early rising has upon the body, and the 
consequent elasticity of mind which it oc- 
casions : and it is one of the exclusive pri- 



vileges of the Christian, to render the tem- 
porary feelings which circumstances pro- 
duce, subservient to the great and important 
interests of his eternal welfare. Is he de- 
pressed and dejected ? He can yield to the 
emotions of his grief, by turning his sor- 
rows into the channel of repentance for his 
sins, and contrition for his guilt. Is his 
mind elated, are his anticipations bright, 
his hopes high-raised, his prospects pleas- 
ing? He can employ these elevated feel- 
ings in thankfulness for the mercies which 
he has received, and the blessings of which 
he has been made a partaker. It is thus 
that he fulfils the command, to " do all to 
the glory of God;" and thus he converts 
even the variations of his disposition, into 
opportunities for rendering homage to his 
Maker. 

But remember, my dear Charles, that 
independent of the solid and immediate sa- 
tisfaction that results from the appropria- 
tion of the early part of the day to the ser- 
vice of God, there are advantages connected 
with it of more permanent duration, and 



EARLY KIS1NG. 177 

more general benefit. By directing the 
first thoughts of the mind,* and reverently 
and thankfully lifting up the heart to him, 
who has preserved you through the hours 
of darkness, and permitted you to behold 
the returning light : by committing yourself 
to the care and protection of that watchful 
Being amidst the snares and temptations 
of the day, who has been your guardian 
through the dangers of the night ; and by 
so habituating yourself to this early act of 
devotion, that your conscience will check 
you, should worldly thoughts intrude, and 
claim the " first fruits" of your morning 
meditations ; you will prepare your mind 
for the performance of those duties which 
are to succeed, and will commence with 
that " fear of the Lord" which will attend 
you " all the day long."f The current of 
thought will retain that peculiar colour with 

* The most excellent Bishop Ken used to follow the 
practice of rising immediately on awaking from Lis first 
sleep, and taking his lute as an accompaniment to his voice, 
he commenced his devotions with a solemn hymn of 
praise. 

t Pror. xxiii. 17. 

15 



178 LETTERS ON 

which it was tinged at its source ; and will 
continue to flow in the same channel when 
far removed from the spring which gave it 
its first direction. And to you, my dear 
friend, who have so often lamented the in- 
disposition to the duties and the pleasures 
of religion which your worldly engagements 
have produced ; whose pursuit of secular 
objects has often been attended with the 
suspicion that each advance towards their 
attainment, might be a retrogression from 
those of infinitely greater moment; and 
whose heart, when gladdening at success, 
has shuddered with the fear, lest it might be 
attempting to " serve two masters :" to you 
the dedication of the morning hours to the 
great concerns of your soul, is of unspeak- 
able importance. You have often antici- 
pated with delight the approach of the Sab- 
bath, knowing, from past experience, its 
tendency to wean your affections from 
earth, and to lead them " to those things 
which are above, where Christ sitteth on 
the right hand of God."* And why will 

* Coloss. iii. 1. 



EARLY RISING. 179 

you not make each morning of your life the 
Sabbath of the day ? Why may not the un- 
due attachment to the world which the pre- 
ceding day has produced, be then overcome; 
and a preservative secured against the temp- 
tations of that which is approaching ? And 
instead of mourning over your departures 
from God, " dragging at each remove a 
lengthening chain," which though it pre- 
vents your total separation, marks, by its 
extent, your lamentable distance from the 
object of your better love, and source of 
your real enjoyments ; why will you not be 
daily drawn " with cords of a man, with 
bands of love" nearer to that " rock of 
ages" which is " higher than you," from 
which you can never be driven by the " pi- 
tiless storms" of the world, nor allured by 
its deceitful calm ? 

And let me intreat you, my dear young 
friend, to watch with a most jealous eye 
every inclination that you feel, and every 
desire that you discover, to relapse again to 
that world, from which you have, I hope, 
been called to " come out," and to be " se- 
parate." Remember that your Christian life 



180 LETTERS OR 

should be one continued effort to advance 
against the stream of sensual gratifications 
and carnal indulgences; and, therefore, if 
you suffer an intermission in your exertions, 
you will not remain stationary at the point 
already gained, but you will be carried more 
rapidly do\vn by your ease, than you ad- 
vanced by your labour. The symptoms of 
a declension in religion, and of spiritual de- 
cay, are such as can leave no doubt of the 
existence of the malady when once it has 
attacked you ; and you will do well to resort 
immediately to those remedies which may 
check its advance, before it has seized upon 
the very vitals of Christianity. If you are 
conscious of a neglect of those things which 
relate to your everlasting peace, a disregard 
of divine objects, a remissness in your at- 
tention to those duties which are essential 
to the character you have assumed, and a 
distaste for the acts of private and social 
worship, which formerly constituted your 
highest enjoyments ; you may be assured 
that an attachment to sensual pleasures will 
soon ensue, and the world will acquire an in- 
fluence over you, altogether inconsistent with 



EARLY RISING. 181 

your profession, and opposed to your hap- 
piness. You will be indifferent to the very 
means which are calculated to correct your 
error, and to lead you back to God. Prayer 
will be omitted : the Scriptures will be slight- 
ed : the secret devotions of the closet will be 
discontinued ; and self-examination will be 
disused. Oh ! what will be your bitter re- 
pentance, when, returning like a wandering 
sheep " to the shepherd and bishop of your 
soul," you reflect on how many successive 
pages of your Bible may be written " un- 
read :" for how long a space of time may be 
inscribed on a throne of grace, " unfre- 
quented ;" the spirit, " grieved ;" and God 
unsought. 

And if, with that salutary apprehension 
A\ Inch will lead you " to work out your 
own salvation with fear and trembling," you 
dread a relapse into such a state; as you 
value your immortal soul, as you prize its 
eternal interests, and as you appreciate the 
importance of its present happiness and its 
future destiny; secure, my dear Charles, 
oh! secure the opportunities which the 
morning affords you, of attending to those 



182 

duties in the closet, which, with the accom- 
panying blessing of God, shall effectually 
prevent your spiritual decay. It is then 
that you should present your petitions to 
the throne of grace; that you should im- 
plore divine assistance to enable you to 
perform the duties that may devolve upon 
you, and to resist the temptations that may 
assail you through the coming day ; that you 
should supplicate the blessing of God upon 
those undertakings in which you are to be 
engaged ; that you should look up to " the 
Father of lights, with whom is no variable- 
ness, neither shadow of turning, for every 
good and every perfect gift you need ;"* it 
is then that you should " ask of God, that 
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth 
not," for " that wisdom which you lack," 
and " it shall be given you ;"f a wisdom 
which shall teach you the line of conduct 
you should pursue, shall tell you the oppor- 
tunities you should improve, warn you of 
the dangers you should shun, caution you 
against the temptations you should resist, 

James, i. 17. t Ibid. i. 5. 



EARLY RISING. 185 

and inspire you with the disposition and 
temper you should manifest in your in- 
tercourse with the world, so that " your 
conversation may in all things " be as be- 
cometh the Gospel of Christ."* 

It is during the leisure and stillness of 
morning too, that the best opportunity will 
be afforded to " search the Scriptures." 
It is then that you will be enabled, not 
merely to read them, but to make them the 
very food of your soul ; " to mark, learn, 
and inwardly digest them ;" to " meditate 
on the word in the word ;"{ to examine the 
Bible as the chart by which you are to 
steer, and by the aid of which, in your 
voyage through life, you are to avoid the 
rocks and quicksands with which this dan- 
gerous sea abounds ; to regard the sacred 
volume as the charter by which you hold 
your present possessions, and secure your 
future inheritance. And whilst you pro- 
perly estimate the value of that revelation of 
the divine will which the word of God con- 
tains, considering the Scriptures as the 

* Phil. i. 27. t Owci). 



184 LETTERS ON 

manifestation of his goodness, justice, mercy, 
and truth 5 of the holiness of his law, and 
the spirituality of his commands; of the 
compassion of the Saviour ; the duties and 
privileges of believers, and the glories of 
heaven : whilst you thus estimate the word 
of truth, you will be daily more and more 
convinced of the importance of its frequent 
perusal, and the necessity of its repeated 
study. 

The mere habit of reading the Scrip- 
tures, is not, in itself, sufficient to produce 
those good effects which you are desirous 
should result from it, but it must be ac- 
companied with earnest prayer to God 
for the enlightening influences of his Holy 
Spirit; and the truths which are contained 
in them must be personally applied to your 
peculiar circumstances, and individual feel- 
ings. But such an application cannot be 
made, if they are perused in a cursory and 
inattentive manner. A considerable portion 
of time is requisite for this employment; 
but the benefits to be derived from it are 
amply commensurate, both in number and 
magnitude, with the hours which are so 



EARLY RISING. 

occupied, and the attention that is thus be- 
stowed. If you wish to experience^ to the 
full extent, the advantages which such a 
perusal of the word of God affords, you 
must exercise a close and diligent self- 
examination. You must consider what con- 
nection there is between the truths which it 
contains, and the actual feelings of your 
own heart. You must take it as a candle 
with which to search the dark " chambers 
of imagery" of your secret thoughts ; and 
as you discover idol after idol not thrown 
down, you must resolve, in the divine 
strength, " to bring into captivity every 
thought to the obedience of Christ."* You 
must regard " the truth as it is in Jesus" as 
being only valuable to you, in proportion as 
it is reflected in your own life and character. 
You must make the word of God the mir- 
ror in which you are to view yourself, nor 
must you leave it satisfied with a rapid 
glance, " straightway forgetting what man- 
ner of man you were ;"f but you must en- 
deavour to discover every defect ; you must 

* 2 Car. x, 5. t James, i. 24. 



186 tETTERS ON 

observe every mark of carelessness and in- 
attention ; nor must you rest contented with 
any thing short of the removal of the one, 
and the correction of the other. 

And recollect, my dear Charles, that as 
a soldier of Jesus Christ, you have an ar- 
duous contest in which you must be en- 
gaged, and a warfare which you must con- 
stantly wage against the most subtile and 
undaunted foe. Each day becomes an 
arena in which you must fight the battles of 
the Lord ; and will you rush into the field 
of action undefended and unarmed? You 
are exhorted " to put on the whole armour 
of God,"* to have " your loins girt about 
with truth ; to have on the breast-plate of 
righteousness ; your feet shod with the pre- 
paration of the gospel of peace ; and above 
all, to take the shield of faith, wherewith 
you shall be able to quench all the fiery 
darts of the wicked one ; to take the helmet 
of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, 
which is the word of God." It is by the 
diligent perusal of the Scriptures, by prayer 

* ph. vi. 13. 



EAM.Y RISING. 187 

and by meditation, that we keep our chris- 
tian armour bright and ready. It is in the 
morning, before the conflict has commenced, 
that you will have leisure to " put it on/' to 
arrange every part, to equip yourself so as 
to leave no place unguarded. And will you 
venture to meet your wily adversary with- 
out this previous preparation ? will you not 
allow yourself time to adjust your armour ? 
will you take the shield, whilst your head is 
left undefended, or your feet entangled by 
your loins being ungirt ? will you cover your 
head with the helmet, but omit the breast- 
plate, exposing the very vitals of Christi- 
anity to the assault of the foe ? or will you 
be satisfied with clothing yourself in the 
" whole armour," deeming that sufficient to 
secure you ; and stand inactive, without a 
weapon to attack, without the sword to 
repel and to overcome your adversary ? 

And you will not only do well thus to 
prepare yourself for the fight, but also to 
survey the field of battle on which you are 
to engage ; and to watch the previous move- 
ments of the foes with whom you are to 
contend. Ascend the hill of morning, and 



188 LETTERS ON 

thence survey the plain that lies beneath 
you. It commands a view so ample, and an 
extent so wide, that you may discern be- 
tween the point of vision and the horizon 
that bounds your prospect, every enemy 
that will oppose you. Mark their positions : 
see where they are forming their ambus- 
cades; where planting their batteries ; and 
where marshalling their forces. It is thus 
you will defeat their designs : by anticipat- 
ing their movements you will be prepared 
to render them unavailing : and when the 
great enemy of souls assaults you, where he 
imagines you are weakest, and brings his 
strongest temptations, and employs his most 
subtile wiles ; you will be able triumphant- 
ly to overthrow his purposes, and subvert 
Ids efforts, because " you were not ignorant 
of his devices." 

Yours, with sincere affection , 



EARLY RISING. 189 



LETTER XVI. 

To the same. 

MY DEAR CHARLES, 

DID I not know the tyrannical 
nature of the habit of lying late in bed, and 
that it overcomes every consideration of 
Christian duty and Christian privilege, I 
could not believe that you would suffer 
yourself to be deprived by it of any part of 
that valuable day, which should be more 
particularly occupied by religious exercises. 
And if I wished, in addition to those .argu- 
ments which I have already urged, to ad- 
vance one that should be more convincing 
and conclusive than the rest, I scarcely 
know whether I could avail myself of a 
stronger, to prove the pernicious nature of 
this slothful custom, than by a reference to 
the melancholy fact, that it not only makes 
its inroads upon your time, which is always 
precious, and interferes with those employ- 



190 LETTERS ON 

meats which ordinarily engage your atten- 
tion ; that it not only robs you through the 
week of opportunities for improvement and 
usefulness, but that it even stretches forth 
its sacrilegious hand, and lays it upon the 
ark of that solemn and interesting period, 
which the Creator of the world hallowed 
and blessed, which our Saviour consecrated 
by the completion of the great work of 
salvation on his resurrection from the dead, 
and which the Holy Spirit distinguished by 
his descent upon the early disciples of our 
Lord. 

Need I remind you of the peculiar value 
of the SABBATH ? of its importance to you 
particularly, whose engagements in the 
world are so calculated to wean your af- 
fections from those things which alone can 
really deserve them, and thus, instead of 
your treasure and your heart being both in 
heaven, leading you to seek for the one, and 
consequently to set the affections of the 
other, upon earth ? of the peculiar benefit 
resulting from that withdrawment from your 
secular pursuits, that freedom from anxiety 
about your temporal concerns, and that re- 



EARLY RISING. 191 

linquishment of your worldly business which 
this day affords ? of the advantage which 
springs from your views being then less 
bounded, your prospects more extended, 
your passions disenthralled from the cor- 
rupting influence which has enslaved them 
through the week, and your hopes, unfet- 
tered by the delusive but enchanting pro- 
mise of earthly prosperity, " full of immor- 
tality ?" Need I recal to your recollection 
the beneficial effects which flow from the 
occupations of this day? The perusal of 
the word of God, the contemplation of his 
glorious attributes, meditation on his divine 
perfections, a personal application of scrip- 
ture truth, earnest supplication at a throne 
of grace, and an attendance on the public 
service of the sanctuary ? These, my dear 
Charles, are the employments peculiarly 
suited for the sabbath, and a few of the pri- 
vileges connected with them ; and can you 
conscientiously neglect the obligation of 
observing the former, or will you volun- 
tarily relinquish the happiness of partici- 
pating in the latter ? 



192 LETTERS ON 

It is true, my dear friend, that this is a 
day of " rest," but it is a rest with which 
sloth is altogether at variance ; it has all the 
spirituality of the one, without any of the 
carnality of the other. And whilst a dili- 
gent attention to the duties of the sabbath 
will justify the appellation, and will afford 
to the Christian a foretaste of that " rest 
which remaineth for the people of God;" 
a criminal neglect of those duties, and an 
indulgence in the sinful propensities of the 
flesh, instead of imparting the refreshment, 
and bestowing the vigour that are required 
will rob the mind of those energies, and the 
spirit of that daring, which are necessary to 
support and animate the Christian in the 
constant warfare in which he is engaged. 

And if the sabbath is indeed so precious, 
if it is of so much importance, and is able, - 
when properly employed, to produce such 
beneficial effects, how great must be your 
folly and criminality, if you are not anxious 
to secure as much of such a valuable sea- 
son as lies within your reach ! The neglect 
of this argues either a total insensibility to 



EARLY RISING. 193 

its importance, or a very inadequate con- 
ception of its value. Will you suffer the 
world to engage six times as large a portion 
of your thoughts as the infinitely more im- 
portant concerns of your soul; and even 
diminish, by a surrender to a sensual in- 
dulgence, the length of that period which 
you professedly snatch from the world ? 

If it is incumbent on you as a Christian, 
to begin every returning day by a solemn 
dedication of yourself to God, a thankful 
acknowledgment of his preserving and pro- 
tecting mercy, and an earnest entreaty for 
the continuance of his favours, what pecu- 
liarly strong reasons have you for such a 
commencement of the sabbath. The mo- 
tives to gratitude which on other days may 
appear of a more ordinary nature, should 
then assume a stronger and more influential 
force. The Christian has reason to value 
each successive sabbath as a blessing pro- 
ceeding immediately from his " Father who 
is in heaven," who, by its appointment, af- 
fords him at once a proof of his continued 
love, and an opportunity to attend to those 



194 LETTERS ON 

devotional exercises which produce in his 
breast a willing, though faint return of a 
similar principle. And whilst the great 
and eternal Father, and the Son of his love 
invite, will you refuse to hear ? Whilst the 
Holy Spirit is soliciting your attention, and 
" waiting to be gracious/' will you act as 
you did in that state of awful darkness, 
when the sabbath was " a weariness, and 
your soul took no pleasure in it?" 

It is in the early part of this hallowed 
day, that you may experience some of the 
purest pleasures and highest enjoyments 
which devotion is capable of affording. 
You may remember seasons when the mind 
required to be forced to an attention to the 
great and important realities of religion, 
and when you have been obliged, by an 
effort, as it were, to raise it above the 
vanities of the world. But now it volun- 
tarily rises* towards heaven ; it has already 
left the earth ; its flight is directed upwards, 
and you may continue it to the throne of the 
great Eternal himself. It is at such a time 
as this that you are indeed " led by the 



EARLY RISING. 



Spirit;" that the slightest influence is suf- 
ficiently powerful to draw you where it 
wills ; that the least insinuation, and the 
gentlest impulse are effectual. It is then 
that his almost unexpected gales waft the 
spirit along the channel of divine love to the 
great object of its affections, " the chief 
among ten thousand, and the altogether 
lovely." It is at such an hour as this that 
a solemnity fills the mind, which robs the 
delusions of the world of their deceitful 
hue } which leads it to look back upon its 
brightest visionary scenes of anticipated 
temporal enjoyment as the day dreams of a 
disordered imagination, and to contemplate 
their future realization with a complete and 
unanxious indifference ; and which unfolds 
the glories of eternity in so overwhelming a 
manner, that even the most engaging objects 
of time and sense, form no part of the ex- 
tended prospect which enraptures the men- 
tal vision. It is at such a period as this 
that you no longer mourn in the valley of 
humiliation, whilst " he whom your soul 
loveth" denies his cheering and animating 



196 LETTERS ON 

presence; but, improving and complying 
with the internal impulse which prompts 
you to the exercises of prayer and praise, 
your faith ascends like an eagle* towards 
the skies, raises her mighty crest, and soar- 
ing towards the glorious " Sun of Righ- 
teousness," who is rising " with healing on 
his wings," purges and unseals at the foun- 
tain of heavenly radiance itself, those orbs 
which the darkness of her lower residence 
had obscured, whilst the flocking doubts 
and timorous fears that love the twilight, 
flutter around, amazed at what she means, 
abashed by her daring, and confounded by 
the height she has attained. It is then that 

" The soul, 

Snatch'd by the spirit's power from its cell 
Of fleshly thraldom, feek itself upborne 
On plumes of ecstacy, and boldly springs 
Up to the porch of heaven." 

It has 'very often been a source of 
regret to you, my dear Charles, that the 
sabbath, however anxiously anticipated, 

The reader will recollect Milton's sublime compari- 
jou of liberty to an eagle. 



EARLY RISING. 197 

and however cordially welcomed, has fre- 
quently passed away, without its having 
produced either those beneficial effects 
which you had formerly experienced, or 
those elevated pleasures which you have 
occasionally enjoyed. The world, though 
professedly dismissed from your thoughts, 
has intruded upon your more serious hours ; 
and even the exercises of devotion and the 
public worship of the sanctuary have been 
polluted by its contaminating influence, and 
interrupted by its distracting perplexities. 
Nor do I wonder at this. If those Christians 
whose lives are almost exclusively devoted 
to the service of God, and whose attention 
is generally directed to those objects which 
are calculated to inspire them with devo- 
tional feelings, have had reason to complain 
of the deceitfulness and desperate wicked- 
ness of their hearts, and have mourned over 
their tendency to yield to the surrounding 
attractions of sense ; is it to be wondered at, 
if you, who are so much engaged in secular 
pursuits, whose wishes are so often suffered 
to be directed to temporal attainments, and 



whose energies are so frequently exerted for 
this purpose; is it to be wondered at, if 
you rush at once from these into " the 
courts of the Lord," without any previous 
preparation, withoutallowingyourself either 
time or opportunity to collect your scatter- 
ed thoughts, and to turn them into a differ- 
ent and more suitable channel; that your 
worship should be attended with so little 
spirituality of mind, and be characterized by 
so little of that truth which a holy and jea- 
lous God requires ? 

The hours of meditative leisure which 
the morning supplies, are calculated to be 
particularly serviceable to you, as the re- 
maining parts of the day do not afford those 
opportunities for the duties of the closet 
which you may then possess. The public 
worship of God, and your attendance to 
sabbath school-instruction, leave you a very 
small portion of time for a personal applica- 
tion of the truths of the Gospel. There 
is a possibility of your more active engage- 
ments assuming too much the nature of 
business, and becoming almost as unpro- 



EARLY RISING. 199 

ductive of religious feelings as secular oc- 
cupations, depriving you of the privileges 
which they are in themselves capable of 
affording when entered upon with a proper 
spirit, and in a suitable frame of mind. I 
am particularly anxious that you should 
guard against this, as it will divest the sab- 
bath of some of its most valuable blessings, 
and will render it unproductive of its cha- 
racterisjic beneficial influence. Let the 
silent hours of the morning of this hallowed 
day witness the fervour of your devotions, 
the warmth of your gratitude, and the ar- 
dour of your love. Let the early prayer 
ascend to your risen Lord for communica- 
tions of mercy suited to the day ; let " the 
sweet hour of prime" be the date of your 
petitions to the throne of grace ; secure this 
semblance of Paradise before the objects of 
sense have tempted you to taste their for- 
bidden fruit; and enjoy that communion 
with the most high God, which he vouch- 
safes to those who " walk with him." 

Consider the example David sets of 
the practice I have recommended. " My 



200 LETTER* ON 

voice," says he, " shalt thou hear in the 
morning, O Lord! in the morning will I 
direct my prayer unto thee, and will look 
up."* Unto thee have I cried, O Lord ! 
and in the morning shall my prayer prevent 
thee."f " It is a good thing to give thanks 
unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy 
name, O Most High!" To shew forth 
thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy 
faithfulness every night." He declares 
that " he prevented the dawning of the 
morning, and cried ;" his " eyes prevented 
the night watches." 

It is worthy of observation, that all of 
the evangelists, in their narration of the cir- 
cumstances attending the resurrection of 
Jesus Christ, have particularly marked the 
time when the two Marys visited the se- 
pulchre of their Lord. It was " as it began 
to dawn," || it was " very early in the 
morning ;"<[[ it was " when it was yet 
dark."** Their anxiety about their Lord 

* Psalm v. 3. t Psalm btxxviii. 13. t Psalm 
xcii. 1,2. $ Psalm oh. 147, 8. || Matt, xxviii. 1. 
f Mark, ivi. *; Luie, xxiv. 1. * John, . 1. 



EARLY RISING. 



was evidently the predominant feeling of 
their bosoms, and it would not permit them 
to lose a moment without endeavouring to 
relieve their solicitude. And though their 
faith was still weak, and their object ap- 
pears partly to have been to embalm the 
Saviour's body, yet the recollection of his 
declarations must have led them to have 
indulged some faint hopes of the glorious 
event which they afterwards found accom- 
plished. But you have no such doubts. 
The sabbath morning beams on you, as the 
returning witness of the consummation of 
the Saviour's work, and the completion of 
your redemption. Your retrospective faith 
may look back with mingled emotions of 
joy and gratitude on the period when Jesus 
rose from his dark and dreary bed, and rose 
early for your everlasting welfare. Your 
object is not to embalm his lifeless body, 
but to " look to the author and finisher of 
your faith," your ascended Lord, " the light 
which is the life of men." And will you 
not hail the first ray of that material sun 
that invites you to fix your admiring eyes 



on the glorious Being of whom he forms 
but a faint resemblance, and affords an in- 
adequate comparison ? 

The time is rapidly approaching, my 
dear Charles, when our successive earthly 
sabbaths, the preludes of an eternal rest, 
will no longer by their immediate conse- 
cration to the Lord, form a contrast to the 
other portions of our time ; but when one 
lengthened, endless, hallowed day will en- 
able us to be " still praising" the God of 
our salvation and the Redeemer of our souls. 
What will be our feelings, when the infirmi- 
ties of the body and the weaknesses of the 
flesh no longer interfere with our devotional 
exercises ? when, after the " multitude who 
have slept in the dust of the earth shall have 
awaked to everlasting life,"* no night t shall 
again intrude, no darkness again intervene, 
no slumber again be known ? when the 
rest we shall enjoy will be connected with 
an activity of service, whose very perform- 
ance will be at once the fulfilment of duty, 
and the renovation of our powers ? and 

Dan. xii. 2. t Rev. xxi. 25. 



EARLY RISING. 203 

when, as ministers of the Most High we 
shall be " swift to fulfil his commands" and 
" do his pleasure,", deriving new strength 
from obedience, and fresh vigour from ex- 
ertion ? And what will be the terrors of 
those, who, " awaking to shame and ever- 
lasting contempt," * will look back with feel- 
ings of remorse upon the long and deceitful 
dream of life, and shudder at the approach 
of an interminable succession of realities, 
with no slumber to soothe their pains, and 
no repose to produce a temporary oblivion 
of their misery. Happy indeed are we if 
the delightful anticipations which our earthly 
sabbaths sometimes afford, are the result of a 
well-grounded faith in Jesus Christ ; happy 
if there is prepared for us " a kingdom that 
cannot be moved," " an inheritance incor- 
ruptible, undefiled, and unfading ;" " an 
exceeding and eternal weight of glory," 
and " pleasures at God's right hand, for 
evermore." 

That my dear Charles may at last " in- 
herit the promises," and thus find every an- 

* Dan. xii. 2. 



L>04 LETTERS ON EAtUY RISING. 

ticipation of his hope, and every expectation 
of his faith exceeded by those "things which 
God hath prepared for them that love him/' 
is the sincere and earnest wish of his 

truly affectionate friend. 



THE END. 



I'rinted by T. Mitltr, \o6ie Street, Clteap*M. 



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